Scripps February revenues up 1 percent

Tue, March 12, 2002 by Tim Stautberg

CINCINNATI – The E. W. Scripps Company’s consolidated revenues for February increased 1 percent to $114 million from the same period a year ago.Total revenues for Scripps Networks were up 4 percent to $27.2 million for the month. A firming scatter market for cable television advertising enabled the company to report $20.8 million in advertising revenue in February, even with the year ago period. Affiliate fee revenue rose 24 percent to $6 million on increased household distribution for the networks.Scripps Networks includes national television network brands Home & Garden Television, Food Network, DIY - Do It Yourself Network and Fine Living, which is scheduled to debut March 17. Based on advance sales, Scripps Networks advertising revenues are expected to be up 3 percent to 5 percent during the first quarter. The company had indicated in February that Scripps Networks first quarter advertising revenue would be somewhat better than the previously issued guidance of down 5 to 10 percent. The company also now expects Scripps Networks affiliate fee revenue to be up 20 to 25 percent in the first quarter. The company in January had anticipated a 10 percent increase in first quarter affiliate fee revenues.Subscriber growth continued during February for HGTV and Food. HGTV now reaches 77.5 million homes, up 8.5 million, or 12 percent, from the same month a year ago and up 600,000 subscribers from the previous month. Food Network can now be seen in 73.4 million homes, up 17 million, or 30 percent, from February 2001, and up 1 million subscribers from January. Pro forma newspaper revenues for the month were $58.4 million, up 1 percent from the same month a year ago. Newspaper advertising revenues were down 2.8 percent. Classified advertising revenue for February declined 8.4 percent, primarily because of continued weakness in the help wanted category. Local advertising revenue declined 1.8 percent. Preprint and other advertising revenue increased 5.7 percent and national advertising was up 9.1 percent. Other newspaper revenues were $5.6 million, an increase of $1.8 million over the same month a year ago primarily because of increased operating income in Denver.At the company’s broadcast television stations, February revenues increased 2.1 percent to $20.4 million. The company’s three NBC affiliates reported a $2.3 million year-over-year increase in advertising revenue for the month, most of which was attributable to the Olympics.GuidanceBased on better than expected performance, the company has revised its earnings guidance for the first quarter. The company now expects first quarter earnings per share from core operations to be in the 50- to 56-cent range vs. 44 cents in 2001. The company previously had expected first quarter earnings per share to be in the 40- to 50-cent range.To be consistent with new accounting rules effective in 2002, the first quarter 2001 earnings per share figure of 44 cents excludes amortization of certain acquired intangible assets totaling $9.4 million, which decreased reported earnings per share by 9 cents, to 35 cents.About ScrippsThe E.W. Scripps Company is a diverse media concern with interests in newspaper publishing, broadcast television, national television networks and interactive media. Scripps operates 21 daily newspapers, 10 broadcast TV stations and three cable television networks, with plans to launch a fourth.Scripps national television network brands include Home & Garden Television, Food Network, DIY - Do It Yourself Network and Fine Living.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.

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