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E.W. Scripps Reports Bigger Loss in Quarter

(Image credit: Scripps)

E.W. Scripps reported a wider loss in the second quarter as ad revenue fell.

The second-quarter net loss was $22 million, or 27 cents a share, compared to a loss of $366,000, or 1 cent a share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 12% to $359 million from $320 million a year ago.

The results include $55.7 million in revenue from stations acquired from Cordillera Communications and Nexstar.

The results also include the Stitcher podcasting business, which the company agreed to sell last month for $325 million to SiriusXM, and was classified as a discontinued operation.

Loss from continuing operations was $17.5 million, or 22 cents a share, compared to income from continuing operations of $5.8 million, or 7 cents a share, a year ago.

At Scripps’ local businesses, segment profit fell to $32.3 million from 54.3 million a year ago. Revenue was $277 million, up 17%. Retransmission revenue increased 56% to $142 million. Core ad revenue fell 17% to $117 million.

“We saw improvements in advertising revenue from April to May and from May to June,” the company said.

Political advertising revenue was $13.4 million. The company said it has raised its expectations for 2020 election year spending to more than $200 million.

Adjusting the figures to reflect how much the stations Scripps has acquired since last year’s second quarter performed a year ago, core ad revenue was down 39% and retransmission revenue was up 27%. Segment profits fell to $32.3 million from $60.5 million a year ago. 

At Scripps’ national media businesses, segment profit fell to $10.3 million from $12.1 million a year ago as revenue dipped to $80.5 million from $81.4 million. The national businesses include the Katz Networks and Triton.

“Even in the midst of the pandemic, we continued our work to transform Scripps into a higher performing company focused on shareholder value creation. In mid-July, we announced the sale of our thriving podcast business, Stitcher, as well as of WPIX in New York, we raised our expectations for political-year ad revenue, and we significantly improved our financial profile,” said CEO Adam Symson.

In July, Scripps stations went dark to Dish subscribers after their retransmission consent and distribution deal expired.

“Or blackout with Dish came before we had even begun to negotiate household rates. Unfortunately, we were left with no recourse. Dish has insisted on replacing standard contract terms with new terms distinctly off-market and in their favor. These new lines in the sand are totally unacceptable, and we hope Dish will soon begin to show concern for its customers and adopt a more reasonable position,” Symson said.