March 4, 2014 Last Updated 4:16 pm

E.W. Scripps Company reports Q4 earnings; lack of political ads hurts quarter, newspaper subscription revenue up

Like many media companies with both broadcast and newspaper properties, The E.W. Scripps Company saw revenue dip in the final quarter of 2013 as there was minimal political advertising in comparison to the same quarter in 2012.

In the case of E.W. Scripps, political advertising amounted to only $2.1 million verses $56.9 million in 2012. But both local and national advertising broadcast revenue recorded good gains in the quarter, as did retransmission fees and digital revenue.

“In the year ahead, we’ll also see the early results of our unique paid digital content strategy at WCPO.com in Cincinnati as well as audience and advertiser reaction to a new suite of mobile and tablet products in all our local TV and newspaper markets,” Scripps Chairman, President and CEO Rich Boehne said. “Our sites also have migrated to a new platform offering a better and more advanced experience based on responsive design. These investments in digital products for advertisers and audiences have been backed up by the addition of more than 100 sales professionals to drive our aggressive digital revenue strategy.”

“We also have expanded our digital portfolio through the acquisition of Newsy, which both complements our local digital businesses and provides us with the opportunity to take advantage of the strong growth in national mobile audiences and revenues.”

The newspaper segment had little to cheer about, however. Ad revenue was down 5.7 percent in the quarter, and even digital ad revenue posted a decrease of 4.4 percent. Paid subscription revenue rose, though, by 4.7 percent to $31 million in the quarter.

“In our newspaper division, our aggressive investments in digital content and sales platforms along with the bundling of print and digital subscriptions and price increases have resulted in another quarter of subscription revenue growth,” Boehne said.

“Finally, our company’s positive cash position and strong financial flexibility continue to allow us to build value by investing in both the expansion of our television footprint and in new digital revenue streams in local and national markets.”

Scipps newspapers include The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), the Ventura County Star (Ventura, CA) and the Knoxville News Sentinel (Knoxville, TN).

Scripps-earnings-chart

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