Scripps Predicts Ad Decline


E. W. Scripps Co. executives on Monday told analysts that they predict ad revenue at their 10 broadcast stations will decline 3%-5% in 2007, largely because absence of political advertising next year.

This year in the run up to the hotly-contested November elections, Scripps political advertising raked in about $45 million. Among its holdings, Scripps has stations in Cleveland and Cincinnati in Ohio, where the political action was red hot (and turned Ohio largely Democratic blue). Scripps also has stations in Tampa-St.Petersburg and West Palm Beach, Fla., which also featured tight, contentious off-year political races.

Scripps management appeared at the Credit Suisse Global Media and Telecom Conference and UBS 34th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference.

The other television arm of Scripps, the Scripps Networks which include cable brands including HGTV and Food Network,  should fare better. Scripps estimates revenue to grow 10%-13% in 2007, and says it will be heavily push interactive initiatives to grow its video on demand business.

Altogether,  Scripps president and  CEO Ken Lowe says, the company should end this fourth quarter as it earlier predicted, with gains of between 63 cents-71 cents per share.