Scripps Expects $270 Million in Political Advertising in 2022

E.W. Scripps

E.W. Scripps swung to a profit in the second quarter as its stations benefited from political advertising while its national networks unit had flat revenue and lower profits.

Net income was $29.2 million, or 32 cents a share, compared to a loss of $6.9 million, or 9 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 5.2% to $594 million.

Scripps’s local stations generated a profit of $80.7 million, up from $64.6 million a year ago. Revenue there rose 9.5% to $356 million. While core ad revenue dropped 2% to $158 million, political advertising was $24 million, compared to $3.2 million a year ago. Retransmission revenue rose 9.4% to $171 million.

The company said it is on track to deliver at least $270 million of local media political advertising revenue for the full year, outpacing its 2020 adjusted-combined presidential election year political revenue, after record-setting second quarter results.

“For the second quarter, Scripps met or exceeded overall expectations. Foreshadowing the record performance we expect in the back half of the year, political advertising during the first two quarters nearly equaled the level of revenue we saw for the same period of the presidential election year 2020, when Michael Bloomberg spent early and heavily in our markets to promote his presidential campaign,” said Adam Symson, Scripps president and CEO

“While Scripps Networks revenue was short of guidance – a reflection of the weakness in the national ad market – it  still equaled last year’s extraordinary performance and delivered results better than peers as well as a margin of more than 30%,” Symson said.

At Scripps Networks, segment profit was $73.3 million, down from $107 million a year ago.

Revenue at the national networks unit was flat at $239 million, with revenue from new networks Defy TV and TrueReal offset by weakness in the national advertising market, the company said.

“The Networks benefited from growth in connected TV revenue, with continued momentum expected in the back half of the year. By the end of the third quarter, most of our Scripps networks will be nearly fully distributed across connected TV platforms, and our previous CTV launches this year are garnering significant viewing, driving the  increases in CTV revenue. Our networks also are available on cable and satellite and to nearly every U.S. television household through over-the-air broadcast,” he said. Scripps national networks include Court TV, Newsy and ION brands.

Looking ahead to the third quarter, Scripps expects local media revenue to be up in the low to mid 20% range, while Scripps Networks revenue will continue to be flat. ■

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.