The E.W. Scripps Company announced a 15% decrease in television group revenue for the fourth quarter Friday, reporting $171 million in the fourth quarter versus $200 million in Q4 2014.
The biggest drop was, not surprisingly, political, given that 2014 was an election year. Political was down 95%, from $43.9 million in Q4 2014 to just $2.1 million last quarter. Nevertheless, retrans revenue jumped 46.5% to $35.9 million. In addition, core advertising rose 1% (excluding the 2014 results of KNIN, which Raycom acquired after the Scripps-Journal merger) — local climbed 0.2% to $90.2 million, while national fell 0.8% to $38.3 million.
“Finally, 2016 is upon us, and we anticipate the highest revenue year in our television division’s history as we hit the very top of the four-year political advertising cycle,” said Rich Boehne, Scripps chairman, president and CEO. “We are positioning our stations to make the most of the anticipated record broadcast television election spending. That includes making strategic investments to maintain and grow strong ratings, especially in the markets where we expect the greatest presidential election spending. We have one of the most attractive presidential election advertising footprints in the industry, and we’re well prepared to make the most of it.”
In this past quarter, Scripps also added 10 new partners for its OTT video news service Newsy.
"The development of audio and video OTT brands such as Newsy and Midroll are part of our strategy for capturing new audiences and revenue in fast-growing marketplaces," Boehne said.