E.W. Scripps reported station revenue of $69.9 million in the third quarter, an 11% decrease from the same quarter a year ago. Excluding political advertising from the 2011 and 2010 totals, revenue increased 6.5%.
Local revenue was up 11%, while national advertising fell 6.6%. Political revenue was $2.1 million in the third quarter, way down from $14.8 million in the third quarter of 2010.
Revenue from retransmission consent agreements increased 32% year over year to $4 million. Digital revenue was $2.2 million, an increase of 11%.
Scripps' overall consolidated revenues from continuing operations were $168 million, a decrease of 8.6% in the third quarter of 2010. Total revenue from Scripps' newspapers fell 4.4% year over year.
"We continue to reshape Scripps, improving the company's short-term and long-term opportunities for growth," said Rich Boehne, Scripps president and CEO. "We believe local TV stations are both good businesses today and attractive launching pads for the future, which is why during the quarter we agreed to purchase the nine stations now owned by McGraw-Hill Broadcasting. At a purchase price of $212 million, we should show a strong return on investment and gain access to TV and digital media consumers and advertisers in Indianapolis, Denver and San Diego. Plus we picked up a great small-market station in Bakersfield, Calif., and access to the developing Spanish-language market through five Azteca stations in Colorado and California. We're eager to close the deal and bring these businesses into the Scripps fold."
Boehne spoke of improved ratings at the current Scripps stations through investments in local news. "Higher local news ratings are driving underlying revenue growth that will provide a strong base on which we'll stack political advertising in 2012," he said. "Local TV advertising grew at a double-digit pace in the third quarter and was up substantially from the amounts we booked in the previous non-political year 2009."
Scripps expects television revenues to be down in the high teens; excluding political advertising in both periods, television revenues are expected to be up in the high-single digits to low-double digits.