Scripps reported first quarter television station revenue of
$96.9 million, down 2.7% from the same quarter last year. The 2013 numbers were
up against $5.5 million of political and Super Bowl-related advertising in
2012. Increases in retransmission fees and digital and national advertising
were not enough to offset declines in political and in local advertising.
Scripps' national advertising was up 4.6% while local was
Digital revenue in the first quarter increased 23% to $3.8
million. Revenue from retransmission consent agreements increased 35% to $10.4
million, primarily driven by rate increases in existing agreements.
Expenses for the TV station group declined 1.6% to $80.4 million, primarily due
to lower syndicated programming costs.
"Following record-setting profit performance in 2012,
we launched into 2013 determined to substantially upgrade our digital revenue
platforms, launch a series of new local digital products, and rebuild our
newspaper business models around bundled subscriptions for digital and print
audiences," said Rich Boehne, president, chairman and CEO. "In the
first quarter, which is our seasonally smallest revenue period, results were
complicated by an expected absence of political advertising and difficult-to-predict
advertising patterns coming out of 2012. These tough year-over-year revenue
comparisons caused by cyclical political advertising will continue through the
balance of 2013."
Boehne said 10 Scripps stations expanded local news ratings
in the February sweeps, while two -- in Phoenix and Denver -- claimed coveted
On May 2, Boehne was elected chairman of the Scripps board.
Scripps' consolidated revenues were $198.7 million, down
4.1% in the quarter. More than half of the decline was due to the near-absence
of political advertising revenue on television.
Total revenue from newspapers in the first quarter was $99.5
million, down 4.7% from the first quarter of 2012.
Scripps forecasts television revenues to be down
low-single digits, including political, in the second quarter.