Scripps TV Revenue Climbs 22%

Automotive up a whopping 84%; affiliation talks with ABC continue
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E.W. Scripps reported television station revenue of $74.8 million, up 22% over the same quarter a year ago. Automotive advertising grew 84%. Local advertising climbed 13%, while national increased 32%.

Retail, travel/leisure and services were among the ad categories that grew in the double digits at the 10 Scripps stations.

E.W. Scripps' overall consolidated revenues from continuing operations were $189 million, an increase of 5.2% from $179 million in the year-ago quarter. Newspaper revenue, while improving, dragged down the companywide results.

"Thanks to shared sacrifice and difficult decisions across the company, we're now in a strong financial position and devoting our creative energies to new opportunities arising from the relentless evolution of media," said Scripps President/CEO Rich Boehne. "We entered the second half of the year with essentially no debt and material cash in the bank, giving us the flexibility to invest in our current businesses where we can increase market share and cash flow."

Boehne said local TV is looking bright for Scripps. "The flow of advertising dollars to broadcast television continues to recover nicely, and the organic growth of the digital and mobile audiences is encouraging," he said. "Much of that improvement is thanks to the general economic recovery, but we're also seeing returns on the investments we're making in high-quality local news content and the more aggressive marketing of the products and services we offer in local TV markets."

Brian Lawlor heads up Scripps' TV division.

Scripps reported retransmission consent revenue of $3 million in the second quarter, up 36% from the same quarter last year.

The company continues to talk with ABC about its affiliation agreements. ABC is pushing its affiliates to share retrans earnings as part of the agreements.

"Revenue from the national broadcast networks was less than a quarter of a million dollars, compared with $1.9 million in the second quarter of 2009," reported Scripps. "The company's affiliation agreements with ABC, which include six Scripps stations, expired on January 31, 2010. The Scripps stations have continued to operate as ABC affiliates under short-term extensions while Scripps and ABC negotiate a new long-term affiliation agreement."

Scripps forecasted television revenue to grow in excess of 30% in the third quarter.

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