Scripps Networks Interactive increased profits to $79.5 million up from $53.3 million in the second quarter. The company houses HGTV and Food Network, and has been more insulated from the recession because of its TV stable's focus on close to home activities. Scripps, formerly part of newspaper giant The E.W. Scripps Company, reported earnings on Thursday August 6. The company's lifetime segment which includes services such as DIY and Fine Living saw a slight fall in profit with the segment off at $172 million compared to $175 million in the previous period.
Despite advertiser cutbacks the networks have fared relatively well, suffering only a 4% decline in ad revenue. First quarter ad revenue was off 4.6%. While Time Warner was in the same ballpark and Viacom's channels were down 6% in the period. Operating revenue was up across the board, but down 23% to $11 million at Fine Living despite a 10% boost in subscriber numbers. HGTV was up 0.4% to $164 million; Food Network was up 1.7% to $128 million and DIY Network was up 5.6% to $18.1 million. Surprisingly, digital revenue also fell to $20.8 million. The company also owns comparison Web services Shopzilla and BizRate.
Scripps continued to invest in programming, with expenses up 9% for the period. The company predicts full year programming expenses to rise by up to 11% for the full year. Affiliate fees grew 15% in the period because of better rates for HGTV and an expansion of the distribution of its other TV networks.