E.W. Scripps: Core Advertising Up 1%, Retrans Gains 24%

Following other station groups, E.W. Scripps Company posted weak second-quarter advertising results with stronger retransmission revenue gains.

Its local media core advertising revenue -- on an adjusted basis -- rose 1% in the second quarter. This factors out incremental benefit from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA Finals appearance in 2018.

Overall core advertising increased 15% to $140 million -- due to TV station acquisitions from Raycom Media and Cordillera Communications. Political revenues declined $13 million during this non-election year.

Retransmission revenue, including the new TV station purchase, grew 24% to $91.5 million.

Total revenue was up 20% to $337 million versus $283 million in second-quarter 2018.

Scripps’ National Media division revenue grew 44% to $98.5 million, with improvements from its Katz Networks, Stitcher and Newsy businesses.

Revenue also includes Triton Digital, a digital audio tech platform which includes ad serving and programmatic media-buying offerings for the radio industry.

Sinclair closed its deal for Triton in November.

On May 1, Scripps closed its deal for 15 TV stations in 10 markets owned by Cordillera Communications.

During the period, Scripps also announced the acquisition of eight television stations in seven markets being divested by Nexstar in its transaction with Tribune Media. That deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Scripps says the deals will result in it being the fourth-largest independent local broadcasting group -- 60 television stations in 42 markets reaching 31% of U.S. television households.

Much is expected to be the same in the third quarter, according to the company -- local advertising losing steam, with retransmission fees rising: Local advertising will be down in the “low to mid-teens” percentages, while up “mid-single digits” in retransmission fees.

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