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Scripps Reports Higher Profits in Fourth Quarter

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The E.W. Scripps Co. reported a bigger profit with a boost from political advertising and gains at its national networks business.

Net income grew to $244.7 million, or $2.89 a share, from, from $10.7 million, or 13 cents a share a year ago.

The quarter’s income includes $6.5 million from the sale of WPIX-TV, New York, and $2.6 million of acquisition and related integration costs.

Revenue rose 40%  to $591 million from $423 million. 

Scripps said its new national media division--formed following the acquisition of Ion Media in January--had a segment profit of $22.8 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $11.8 million a year ago. Revenue was $117 million, up 28%. Katz was up 18% and Newsy was up 27%, boosted by a healthy direct-response marketplace.

Local media revenue was up 43% to $473 million in the quarter, including $138 million in political advertising. Core advertising was down 8.9% to $18 million, but  continued to recover from its second quarter lows. 

Retransmission revenue was up 36% to $150 million .

“Having completed the acquisition of Ion in early January, Scripps is now a full-scale television company and the largest holder of broadcast spectrum in the country,” said CEO Adam Symson. “Our new Scripps Networks division is made up of seven powerful TV networks that each reaches nearly every American, through free over-the-air television, over the top platforms and on cable and satellite, to deliver advertisers a large, sought-after audience they often can’t find anywhere else.

“We move forward now as a high-free-cash flow television company with two highly profitable operating divisions that position us to create significant value today and capture even greater value as a leader in the future of television,” he said.