Scripps reports revenues for May

Thu, June 14, 2001 by Tim Stautberg

CINCINNATI – The E. W. Scripps Company’s consolidated revenues for May were $128 million, down 1.7 percent from the same month a year ago on a pro forma basis. Revenues for Scripps Networks, the company’s fastest growing operating division, were up 14 percent to $33.9 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 70.1 million homes, up 7.9 million, or 13 percent, from the same month a year ago, and up 3 million subscribers through the first five months of 2001. Food Network can now be seen in 59.3 million homes, up 11.1 million, or 23 percent, from May 2000, and up 4.9 million year-to-date.Newspaper revenues for the month were $60.6 million, up slightly from the pro forma revenues in same month a year ago. Newspaper advertising revenues were down 2.4 percent. Classified advertising revenue for May was down 6.8 percent because of weakness in the help wanted category. Local advertising revenue declined 2.2 percent. Preprint and other advertising revenue increased 3.4 percent and national advertising was up 12 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, May revenues declined 17 percent to $26.4 million. The company attributes the decline to a general weakness in broadcast television advertising.Based on operating results for two months and softer-than-expected newspaper and television advertising revenues, the company is updating its earnings guidance for the second quarter. The company expects second quarter earnings per share from core operations of 53 to 56 cents vs. 60 cents in 2000. The company previously issued guidance for the quarter of 55 to 65 cents.This press release contains certain forward-looking statements related to the company’s newspaper publishing, category media and broadcast television businesses that are based on management’s current expectations. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties, including changes in advertising demand and other economic conditions, that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements should be evaluated with the understanding of their inherent uncertainty. The company’s written policy on forward-looking statements can be found on page F-5 of its 2000 SEC Form 10K and page F-15 of its most recent Form 10Q.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 early in 2002.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.The senior management team from Scripps will discuss the company’s business strategy at 3 p.m., EDT, Monday, June 18, at the Mid-Year Media Review in New York. Kenneth W. Lowe, president and CEO; Daniel J. Castellini, senior vice president and chief financial officer; and Richard A. Boehne, executive vice president, will be the speakers. The Scripps presentation will be Web cast live and will be accessible on the company’s Web site at www.scripps.com. An archive of the presentation also will be available on the company Web site within 24 hours after the presentation.