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E.W. Scripps Reports Larger First-Quarter Loss

E.W. Scripps reported a greater first-quarter loss Friday.

The net loss was $11.8 million, or 15 cents a share, compared to a loss of $6.8 million, or 8 cents a share a year ago. The current quarter loss including $3.7 million in acquisition and integration costs, which was similar to a year ago.

Revenue rose 48% to $431 million from $292 million, including the acquisition of eight stations from Nexstar and Tribune and 15 stations from Cordillera.

(Image credit: Scripps)

Local media profit was $56 million compared to $32.2 million a year ago.

Revenue from local media was $322 million, up 58%. Adjusted for acquisition, revenue was up 9%.

Retransmission revenue grew 21% on an adjusted combined basis, partly because of a new agreement with Comcast that started Jan 1.

Core ad revenue rose 42% to $161 million. Adjusted core advertising was down 8% as the COVID-19 crisis weakened economic conditions in late March. Political ad revenue was $19 million.

Scripps’ national businesses, Katz Broadcasting and Newsy generated a profit of $11.8 million, more than double a year ago. Revenue rose to $108 million from $87.3 million a year ago.

“The year got off to an outstanding start before the impact of COVID-19 on the last two weeks of March. We saw record segment profit and margin expansion in Local Media, a doubling of the segment profit in National Media over prior year, and the company’s best first-quarter results since we spun off Scripps Networks Interactive in 2008,” said CEO Adam Symson.

“The acquisitions we executed in 2019 already are serving us well in weathering this economic crisis – helping us to capture more political and retransmission revenue as well as the benefits of geographic diversification,” Symson said. “We entered this crisis delivering strong financial results, and we will persevere through it, bolstered by bigger audiences and higher brand awareness. On the other side of these challenges, we expect to benefit from the increased viewer loyalty and the business opportunity it will bring.”