Friday, May 5, 2017

Scripps Reports Radio Revenue Was Off 1Q 2017

The E.W. Scripps Company today reported operating results for the first quarter of 2017.

For the quarter, net loss was $1.9 million or 2 cents per share. In the prior-year quarter, the net income was $4.9 million or 6 cents per share.

For the quarter, total revenue was $211 million compared to $209 million in first-quarter 2016.

Business highlights

  • The company has closed an offering of $400 million of new senior unsecured notes priced at 5.125 percent and scheduled to mature in 2025. Proceeds from the offering were used to repay the existing $391 million term loan B due in 2020, to pay related fees, and for general corporate purposes. Since this is a refinancing, the company is not significantly increasing the total amount of debt.
  • Retransmission revenue increased 24 percent to $66 million in the first quarter. The increase was driven by the renewal at higher rates of two contracts covering 3 million subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2016. Retransmission revenue is expected to become about 35 percent of television division revenue this year.
  • Digital revenue grew 25 percent in the first quarter, particularly driven by growth at our podcast industry-leading company Midroll.
  • Scripps is launching a new daytime television lifestyle talk show featuring country music entertainer Kellie Pickler and Emmy Award-winning New York City journalist Ben Aaron. The show is a partnership with Grammy Award-winning country music artist Faith Hill. It will launch this fall in 20 Scripps TV station markets.
  • Scripps received three prestigious Walter Cronkite Awards for Excellence in Television Political Journalism from the Norman Lear Center at University of Southern California. The awards recognized original reporting of the 2016 elections across the company’s 24 news-producing markets and at Newsy; its campaign fact-checking partnership with Politifact and including Newsy; and the work of its Denver station, KMGH, in covering a forgery scandal involving a U.S. Senate race.

Commenting on the first-quarter results, Scripps Chairman, President and CEO Rich Boehne said:

Rich Boehme
“The first quarter following a presidential election is often the lightest in the four-year cycle that drives our broadcast TV business. Nevertheless, we built advertising revenue as the quarter progressed, and now we’re on to partnering with local advertisers as they refine or recast their businesses.

“Looking ahead to the elections in 2018, we anticipate aggressively contested midterm races, with 16 for governor and 10 for U.S. Senate in Scripps markets as the Democrats mount a rousing offense to regain seats in Congress.

“In our digital division, once again Newsy has received an invitation to tell its story at the interactive advertising industry’s NewFronts. National digital advertising buyers will have the opportunity to meet the content producers and business leaders behind our fast-growing news network for the next generation. Newsy is widely distributed on all the major over-the-top services, a cable system, desktop and mobile, and it garnered 1.3 billion video views across all those platforms in 2016. Newsy made an impressive debut at this prestigious event last year. There’s more and even better to come from Newsy this year.

Radio revenue was $14 million, down from $14.6 million in the 2016 quarter. Expenses were $12.4 million compared to $12.5 million in 2016.

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