The E.W. Scripps Co. swung to a profit in the third quarter as revenue was boosted by acquisitions and political advertising.
Net income was $58.5 million, or 69 cents a share, compared to a loss of $21.8 million, or 27 cents, a year ago.
Revenue rose 49% to $493 million from $331 million, including $50 million from former Tribune stations acquired from Nexstar Media Group.
Political ad revenue in the quarter was $98.3 million.
“Despite the lingering economic disruption, Scripps achieved record political advertising revenue, nearly 40% retransmission revenue growth, a rebound in core advertising, double-digit National Media revenue growth and a return to National division margin expansion,” said CEO Adam Symson.
Symson said Scripps was on track to end the year at more than $280 million of free cash flow, or at least $3.42 of free cash, exceeding its guidance to Wall Street.
“We credit this performance to a recovering advertising marketplace combined with our strategies to become a stronger and more durable enterprise. Our recently announced acquisition of ION Media is another step in our systematic plan to improve the financial profile of the company and increase free cash flow, providing a clear path to debt reduction,’ he said.
Local media profit rose to $145 million from $48.7 million as revenues increased 60% to $404 million. Adjusted for the station acquisitions, revenue was up 32%
Retransmission revenue increased 60% to $152 million. Adjusted retrans revenue was up 39%.
Core ad revenue increased 2.2% to $151 million, helped by the addition of the Tribune stations. Adjusted ad revenue decreased 18%.
National Media--including the Katz Networks and Newsy-- generated a $12.1 million profit, up from $9.7 million a year ago. Revenue rose to $98.4 million from $78.3 million.
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