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Operating Income Dips at Scripps in Q4

E.W. Scripps’ operating income in the fourth quarter of 2007 was $205 million, down from $214 million in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Consolidated fourth-quarter revenue was $679 million compared with $683 million during the same period a year ago.

The preliminary results released Thursday did not include an anticipated noncash charge related to Scripps’ uSwitch subsidiary in the United Kingdom, the company reported. Preliminary net income for the quarter, excluding the anticipated charge, was $123 million compared with $134 million during the same period in 2006.

At Scripps Networks, which includes the company’s cable channels, fourth-quarter revenue grew 14% year-over-year to $318 million. The company’s station group saw revenue of $91.5 million, down from $112 million a year earlier. Local broadcast revenue was up 14%, while political was down considerably from 2006.

Interactive-media revenue was $79.8 million for the fourth quarter compared with $86.6 million in the same quarter in 2006. The company’s total newspaper revenue declined 9.6% to $165 million.

Regarding full-year results for 2007, Scripps announced preliminary income from continuing operations at $374 million compared with $397 million in 2006. Scripps Networks posted a revenue increase of 13% to $1.2 billion, while station-group revenue was $326 million, down from $364 million in 2006.

President and CEO Kenneth W. Lowe singled out the cable networks’ performance. “Solid ratings and viewership at HGTV [Home & Garden Television] and Food Network during the fourth quarter, combined with strong pricing in the scatter advertising market,” he said, “resulted in impressive double-digit revenue and segment profit growth for our Scripps Networks division.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.