E.W. Scripps saw its second-quarter revenues rise slightly to $232 million, up from $228 million one year ago.
From that, the company posted a net income of $8.5 million, down from $11.5 million. The decrease was due in part to a $2.4 million non-cash charge to interest expense to write off deferred costs associated with the company’s refinancing.
In all, revenue for Scripps’ television group was $193 million, up about 1% year-over-year. Scripps’ retransmission revenue rose 24% to $66 million and, looking out to the full year, the company expects retransmission revenue will increase 20% and account for about 35% of television division revenue.
While retransmission revenue rose, ad revenue struggled. As Scripps, local ads were down 3.8% to $85 million, national ads were down 5.8% to $36 million, and political totaled $2.5 million, down from $8.4 million last year.
However, the recent deal with Katz had E.W. Scripps CEO Rich Boehne confident about the future of advertising.
“The acquisition of the four Katz networks provides Scripps with a new platform for national advertising. This young, fast-growing company has built four broadcast networks—Bounce, Grit, Escape and Laff—that each target an audience demographic desirable to advertisers seeking national scale,” said Boehne in a statement.
“In our largest business, broadcast television, we are anticipating the launch of our newest original program, Pickler & Ben, on Sept. 18. We partnered with country music star Faith Hill to produce the show, starring country singer Kellie Pickler and New York journalist Ben Aaron in a daily talk-show program. We have had good success with our original programming strategy, with RightThisMinute in its seventh season and The List in national syndication. This is another show that helps us build value, save money on syndicated costs and garner more advertising revenue.”
Total television expenses rose 3.7% to $144 million, largely due to increases in programming fees tied to network affiliation agreements. In all, the segment’s profit came in at $49.8 million, down from $53.3 million during the year-ago quarter.
Meanwhile, digital revenue grew 27% in the second quarter, driven by growth at Scripps’ podcast company, Midroll, and its national news network, Newsy.