International Growth Boosts Scripps Networks Earnings

Scripps Networks Interactive reports strong profit growth driven by its international expansion and cost reductions from last year’s restructuring.

Net income rose 25% to $164.7 million, or $1.27 per share, in the quarter, from $131.8 million, or 96 cents a share.

Revenues rose 27.3% to $851.8 million. Domestic ad revenues were up 7.8% to $478 million, but profits at the U.S. networks were limited by higher programming expenses.

The results came in above Wall Street expectations.

For the full year, net income rose 21.5% and revenues increased 13.2%

“These results exemplify the strong and consistent execution of our strategy at Scripps Networks Interactive. Our core television lifestyle networks are growing in demand by viewers and advertisers, while our international expansion continues to make a significant contribution to the overall robust health of the company," said CEO Ken Lowe. “We continue to build on the success of our powerful lifestyle media brands, and every day we are increasing the number of connections those brands make with consumers around the world. As a result, we’re well positioned to maximize the value we can generate from the audiences we deliver across multiple platforms.”

Scripps’ U.S. Networks, which include HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel, recorded 1.1% increase in segment profit to $309 million during the fourth quarter. Revenues at the U.S. networks were up 8% to $701.8 million. Ad revenues were up 7.8% to $478.4 million. Affiliate fee revenue rose 4.6% to $199.6 million.

The revenue growth at the U.S. networks was offset by an increase in program amortization costs as the company premiered a record number of new programs. The company also had higher-than-normal program write-offs at Travel Channel, which is being repositioned.

Operating revenue rose 8.3% to $250.3 million at HGTV. Food Network was up 5.6% to $232 million, Travel Channel inched up 3.4% to $78.3 million, DIY gained 8.4% to $39.9 million, Cooking Channel rose 11.8% to $35.6 million and Great American Country slid 0.5% to $7.5 million.

Scripps’ International Networks went from a loss in the fourth quarter a year ago to a $36.4 million profit as the acquisition of TVN in Poland was consolidated into the company’s results.

Revenues jumped to $163 million from 27.3 million a year ago.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.