Political Pushes Scripps Revenue Up

TV helps offset "unprecedented pressure on advertising picture"

E.W. Scripps reported television revenue of $93.4 million in the fourth quarter, a 2.1% boost over the previous year's fourth quarter. Political advertising represented $26 million, offsetting 26.9% drops in both local and national TV advertising.

The company's overall revenue dropped 6.2% in the quarter to $265 million, as its newspaper division saw a 16.5% revenue plummet for the quarter.

Scripps President/CEO Rich Boehne said there's simply no avoiding a dismal economic outlook for the media company. "It became apparent toward the end of the year there's nowhere to hide from the national economic crisis. Despite our geographic diversity and multiple sources of advertising revenue, we're feeling the pain as the recession rolls its way through our local markets and media businesses," he said. "Our primary short-term goal is to protect the company's financial health and flexibility, but at the same time we continue to reposition our local brands to take advantage of the long-term opportunities presented by this season of rapid evolution for media."

The company outlined several cost-cutting measures, including pay cuts of 3-5% for most newspaper and corporate employees and 5-15% cuts for corporate executives, station general managers and newspaper publishers that went into effect at the start of the year. Scripps also announced it will suspend its match of most employees' 401(k) contributions.

The measures are expected to save Scripps about $20 million for the year.

E.W. Scripps owns ten TV stations and a wide range of newspapers.