Scripps reports April revenues

Thu, May 10, 2001 by Tim Stautberg

CINCINNATI – The E. W. Scripps Company’s pro forma consolidated revenues for April were $132 million, nearly even with the same month a year ago. Revenues for Scripps Networks, the company’s fastest growing operating division, were up 16 percent to $34.2 million. Scripps Networks includes national television network brands Home & Garden Television, Food Network and Do It Yourself (DIY).Subscriber growth for HGTV and Food has continued at a healthy pace. HGTV now reaches 69.7 million homes, up 8 million, or 13 percent, from the same month a year ago, and up 2.6 million subscribers through the first four months of 2001. Food Network can now be seen in 58.7 million homes, up 11 million, or 24 percent, from April 2000, and up 4.3 million year-to-date.Pro forma newspaper revenues for the month were $64.6 million, down 3.6 percent from the same month a year ago. Newspaper advertising revenues were softer than expected, down 4.9 percent. Classified advertising revenue for April was down 8.4 percent because of weakness in the help wanted category. Local advertising revenue declined 6.7 percent. Preprint and other advertising revenue increased 1.7 percent and national advertising was up 13 percent.The company receives 50 percent of the operating income from the Denver Newspaper Agency, which began operations on Jan. 22, 2001. The agency handles business and production operations for the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post, owned by MediaNews Group. The company’s share of operating income is reported as “other” newspaper revenue. The company continues to include its editorial costs associated with the Rocky Mountain News in operating expenses. The company’s financial statements do not include advertising, circulation and other revenue produced by the Rocky Mountain News, nor any non-editorial costs. To make the company’s year-over-year newspaper results comparable, revenues are being reported on a pro forma basis, including the Rocky Mountain News as if the recently implemented joint operating agreement had started on Jan. 1, 2000.At the company’s broadcast television stations, April revenues declined 14 percent to $24 million. The company attributes the decline to a general weakness in broadcast television advertising.The E.W. Scripps Company is a diverse media concern with interests in newspaper publishing, broadcast television, cable television networks and interactive media. Scripps operates 21 daily newspapers, 10 broadcast TV stations and three national television networks, with plans to launch a fourth.Scripps national television network brands include Home & Garden Television, Food Network, Do It Yourself and Fine Living, due to launch in the fourth quarter of 2001.The company also operates Scripps Howard News Service, United Media, the worldwide licensing and syndication home of PEANUTS and DILBERT, and 31 Web sites, including hgtv.com, foodtv.com, diynet.com and comics.com.