Scripps revenues drop 15%

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Scripps said today that its TV stations posted a 23% drop in operating cash flow to $25.3 million for the second quarter, on a 15% revenue decline to $74.2 million.

But the company's cable network division (The Food Networkand Home & Garden Television) continued to show gains in the face of the slumping economy: cash flow was up 6% to $26.6 million on a 15% gain in revenues to $99.2 million. Company chairman Kenneth Lowe said expansion of the cable network division "remains our number one priority."

Scripps is developing new niche networks, including Do It Yourself and Fine Living. The latter is expected to launch in early 2002 Lowe said.

Meanwhile, the company is taking aggressive steps to control costs at the TV division, which were cut just over 10% in the second quarter. In addition to the soft ad environment, Scripps said TV station results "continue to be adversely affected by their relatively high exposure to weakly rated ABC television network programming." Six of the 10 Scripps stations are ABC affiliates.

For the third quarter, the company is now projecting a 10% to 12% ad revenue gain for the cable networks but a 4% to 6% decline in TV station ad revenue, excluding political advertising.
- Steve McClellan

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