E.W. Scripps: Lower Ads Revs But Uptick In Retrans, Digital

TV station group owner E.W. Scripps followed business results similar to other TV stations groups’ fourth-quarter 2014 results -- lower local core advertising but improving political, retransmission and digital revenue.

Local advertising was down 1.8% to $62.3 million, with national spot advertising off 8.3% to $29 million.

On the flip side, retransmission revenue climbed 41% to $15.8 million and political advertising rose more than 10 times the levels in the fourth-quarter period in 2013: $32.6 million versus $2.1 million.

But this caused some problems with its core advertisers: Rich Boehne, chairman/president/chief executive officer of E.W. Scripps, said in a release that the political advertising “displaced many of our core TV advertisers.”

Digital revenue was up sharply -- 24% to $5.9 million.



“We are focused on digital video, and in the fourth quarter -- we got a big boost when we added the Newsy video players onto our local newspaper and television Web sites," Boehne said. Across all of our digital businesses, we served up more than 235 million video views, the majority of them through Newsy’s reach.”

Overall TV revenue was up 28% to $147 million. Newspaper revenue sank 7.9% during the period to $95.1 million; the business’ advertising/marketing revenues were down 9.7% to $60 million.

Scripps' company-wide revenues were up 11% to $245.7 million, while net income more than doubled to $15.7 million. Scripps owns 33 television stations and 34 radio stations in 27 markets.

Scripps is merging with Journal Communications. On completion of the deal close, Scripps will become the nation's fifth-largest independent local broadcaster.

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