E.W. Scripps TV revenues down 9% as company swings to a loss in Q3

E.W. Scripps
E.W. Scripps headquarters (Derek Jensen/Wikimedia Commons)

E.W. Scripps posted a third-quarter net loss of $26.7 million, down from $12.5 million in net income one year ago, due to a $35.7 million impairment charge associated with Cracked and some restructuring costs.

The company’s television revenues totaled $180 million, down about 9% year-over-year as political advertising revenue plummeted to $1.7 million, compared to $26.9 million last year. As retransmission revenue increased 19.9% to $10.6 million, core local and national advertising revenue fell 2.8% and segment expenses increased 6.4% to $148 million due to network affiliate programming fees. Profit for the segment fell to $32.1 million, down from $58.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

"In our television business, we saw core advertising move back into positive territory in the third quarter, factoring out incremental Olympics revenue as well as political for 2016. We have now secured shelf space for our local brands with a half-dozen major over-the-top TV disruptors, including YouTubeTV, Hulu and DirectTV Now, with net economics comparable to that of our cable and satellite platforms,” said Scripps CEO Adam Symson in a statement.

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Overall, total revenue fell to $216 million, down from $233 million one year ago, due to less political advertising.

Scripps this quarter kicked off a restructuring process in hopes of improving performance. On Aug. 23, the company announced a new management team to support the local and national media businesses and a reorganization that merges local operations into a new Local Media division and the national content brands into a National Media division, all of which go into effect on Jan. 1. The company also appointed Chief Strategy Officer Lisa Knutson as interim chief financial officer, according to a news release.

"In the third quarter, we began a deep analysis of our operating division and corporate cost structure, our non-core assets and the opportunities for our national content brands. We are committed to improving operating performance in our local media businesses, supporting the growth ahead with our national businesses and serving our audiences with news and information across all media platforms,” said Symson.