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Scripps Television Revenue Up 17%

E.W. Scripps reported television operating revenues of $120 million in the first quarter, up 17% from the same quarter in the previous year. Retransmission revenue more than doubled in the quarter to nearly $28 million. Also contributing to the increase is incremental revenue from two TV stations acquired from Granite in the second quarter of 2014.

Television segment profit increased nearly 6% to $22.2 million. 

Newspaper operating revenues declined 7.1% from the year-ago quarter to $91.5 million. But with lower newsprint consumption and lower employee-related costs, newspaper segment profit increased $0.5 million to $9.1 million.

Cincinnati-based Scripps closed on its merger with Journal Communications April 1, with the television properties operating under the Scripps name, and the newspapers moving over to Journal. Beginning in the second quarter, Scripps will report results in four segments: television, radio, digital and syndication and other.

“The first quarter saw strong growth in our television retransmission revenue, which flowed from new agreements covering about a third of our pay TV households,” said Scripps chairman, president and CEO Rich Boehne. “We are already focused on our retransmission opportunity for 2016 as well as the promise of strong election-year spending and the realization of benefits from the Journal stations. We are ramping up to a big year in 2016.”

Consolidated revenues were $215 million in the quarter, up 5.3%.

Local TV revenue grew 5.6% in the quarter, while national ticked up 0.9%. Scripps' digital revenue grew 21% to $5.3 million, while retransmission revenue was up 124% to $27.9 million.

On a same-station basis, total revenue increased 11% in the quarter.

Scripps’ newspaper revenue was $91.5 million in the first quarter, down 7.1% as advertising and marketing services revenue was off 8%.

Scripps forecasts TV revenue being flat in the second quarter.

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.