Scripps Networks announces strategic reorganization

Wed, January 19, 2000 by Mark Kroeger

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Scripps Networks, one of the nation’s fastest-growing creators of unique brands for television and the Internet, has reorganized its management, promoting several key executives and establishing a New Ventures Group to pursue growth opportunities.A unit of The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP), Scripps Networks operates Home & Garden Television (HGTV), the Food Network and Do it Yourself (DIY). It also operates related Web sites, hgtv.com, foodtv.com and diynet.com. The Scripps Networks strategy is to develop services that efficiently link consumers and advertisers in specific consumer categories.Susan Packard, executive vice president for Scripps Networks, has been named president of the New Ventures Group of Scripps Networks, which will be responsible for developing new networks, new media applications (including broadband, video-on-demand and interactive television), strategic partnerships and other ventures. The Scripps Networks New Ventures Group also will create global brands by developing strategic alliances with domestic and international partners. Ed Spray has been named to the newly created position of president of Scripps Networks. Spray, who previously was executive vice president, will be responsible for providing strategic oversight of the three cable networks and related businesses. Under the new structure, management of Scripps’ individual networks and related businesses will be the responsibility of a senior vice president and general manager, reporting to Spray. Heading each network will be: -- Burton Jablin, who has been named senior vice president and general manager of HGTV. Jablin previously was HGTV’s senior vice president for programming.-- Judy Girard, who earlier this month was named senior vice president and general manager of the Food Network. She previously was senior vice president for programming and content development for Scripps Networks.-- Jim Zarchin, who has been named senior vice president and general manager of DIY. Zarchin previously was president and general manager of Scripps Productions, the company’s cable television programming unit. “This reorganization increases the efficiency and flexibility of an already successful company, and better positions Scripps Networks for continued growth and expansion,” said Ken Lowe, chairman and CEO of Scripps Networks. “As the fastest growing component of E.W. Scripps, the timing is right to make the changes necessary to continue this pace, with a particular focus in the area of new ventures and the Internet.” “Much of the growth and success we have achieved at Scripps Networks can be attributed to the senior management team, and specifically to the leadership and vision of Susan Packard and Ed Spray,” Lowe said. “The new structure offers Ed and Susan exciting new responsibilities and the chance to build upon significant past accomplishments. Susan, who has spearheaded our dramatic growth domestically and internationally, is going to be given additional resources and a mandate to build new businesses as well as leveraging Scripps’ existing assets. Ed, who has been responsible for the development of content and original programming that has resulted in tremendous viewership and ratings increases, will take the reins of our existing, and highly successful, operations.” Packard and Spray will report to Lowe. “There is no question that technology is going to dramatically change the way consumers access and use the kind of original content we produce,” Packard said. “From the Internet, to video-on-demand, to applications that haven’t even been invented yet, the future of one-to-one communication is coming together before our eyes. We are witnessing dramatic changes in the ways people access valuable information, and I am excited to be pursuing these tremendous opportunities for a company that has proven its ability to create popular and resonant content around people’s passions.” “This reorganization will improve Scripps Networks’ ability to manage our brands, while creating a structure that will make it much easier to integrate new networks, brands and businesses into our growing company,” Spray said. “I am looking forward to the continued development of the popular and unique franchises we have already created, and new opportunities for growth generated by Susan’s New Ventures Group.” Scripps Networks also announced other management changes. They are: -- Mark Hale, senior vice president, Scripps Networks, will become executive vice president. He will concentrate on the operational, technical and production aspects of all Scripps Networks businesses. -- Jim Clayton, senior vice president, Scripps Networks, will become executive vice president and chief financial officer. He will oversee the financial reporting and consolidated business affairs of all three networks.-- Bob Gerrard, senior vice president and general counsel, will be given oversight of the company’s expanded human resources staff, serving HGTV, Food and DIY. He will continue to manage the legal affairs of Scripps Networks.-- Steve Gigliotti, who has been named senior vice president of ad sales, a newly created position responsible for managing the ad sales operations of the three networks and related Web sites. Ad sales operations of the three networks will continue to operate independently of each other. Gigliotti previously was vice president and general manager of WMAR-TV in Baltimore. WMAR, an ABC affiliate, is one of nine television stations operated by The E.W. Scripps Company. Hale, Clayton, Gerrard and Gigliotti will report to Lowe.About Scripps NetworksOne of the fastest-growing companies in the cable industry, Scripps Networks reported more than 103 million combined subscribers at the end of 1999, a 22 percent increase over the previous year. HGTV now has more than 59 million subscribers and Food has more than 44 million.Prime time ratings for HGTV and Food are up between 30 percent and 40 percent from a year ago, and Scripps Networks Web sites - hgtv.com and foodtv.com – together are logging an average 28 million page views per month, up nearly 40 percent from a year ago.Scripps Networks recently completed a $12 million, 78,000-square-foot, expansion of its Knoxville headquarters and technical facility, which provides hosting capabilities for up to 1,200 web sites and additional studio and production space.