Scripps Television reported television station revenue of $66.8 million in the first quarter, an 11% increase over last year's first quarter. Local advertising revenue climbed 12%, national was up 10%, and political advertising was $840,000, compared with less than $200,000 in the 2009 first quarter.
Automotive advertising rose 65% in the quarter, with the retail and food service categories also up by double-digit percentages.
"We're seeing steady improvement in the flow of advertising to television stations, with an expected boost from spending around political races later in the year," said E.W. Scripps President/CEO Rich Boehne. "TV advertising is much stronger than last year, and that strength is continuing."
Scripps' revenue from the national broadcast networks was less than $800,000, compared with $2.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Scripps' affiliation agreements with ABC for its six ABC affiliates expired on Jan. 31, 2010. The stations have "continued to operate as ABC affiliates under short-term extensions," said Scripps in a statement, "while Scripps and ABC negotiate a long-term affiliation agreement."
Retransmission consent revenues increased 35% in the quarter to $2.7 million, and Internet revenues increased 23% to $1.6 million.
Segment expenses for Scripps' station group decreased 4.2%.
The television division reported segment profit of $6.6 million in the first quarter, compared with a segment loss of $2.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
Year-over-year revenue for the Scripps newspapers was less rosy, dropping 7.6% to $113 million. Advertising revenue was down 12% to $75.2 million.
Scripps forecasts strong results for television in the second quarter. "The year-over-year growth in television ad revenues is expected to be in the mid-teens, and the declines in newspaper ad revenue are expected to moderate slightly," it said in a statement.
E.W. Scripps owns 10 TV stations and a host of newspaper properties.