Scripps scores with local, retrans revs
| 10 May 2014
As it reported its first quarter results, US content company EW Scripps has shown clearly what all of the fuss in retrans rows is about.

For the first quarter of its financial year ended 31 March 2014, consolidated revenues were $204 million, up 2.6% ($5.1 million), primarily due to the increases in retrans revenue, political advertising and subscription revenue. Operating revenues were up 5.4% year on year, driven by strong local advertising and retrans revenue growth and higher-than-expected political advertising revenue of $2.7 million.

Total revenue from television stations was $102 million, up $5.3 million from the prior-year quarter. The current-year period included $2.7 million of political revenue and $1.7 million in incremental 2014 Winter Olympics advertising on the company's three NBC-affiliated stations.

In all, retrans fees from cable and satellite providers increased 19.5% to $12.5 million. Going forward, and sensing a rich seam to mine, Scripps added that in 2014 it will renegotiate retrans agreements covering more than one-third of its subscribers. In February 2014, Scripps reached an agreement to acquire the ABC affiliate in Buffalo and a MyNetworkTV affiliate in Detroit from Granite Broadcasting Corp. for $110 million in cash. The Federal Communications Commission has approved the transaction, and the deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

Commenting on the results as regards its TV business and future opportunities, Scripps chairman, president and CEO Rich Boehne said: “Our digital team oversaw the launch of what could be the first paid digital content service in the broadcast TV industry. Following investments in content, functionality and sales infrastructure, we’re now able to use the Insider service in Cincinnati to better test and model the opportunity for local television brands. This service will let us better meet the needs and desires of our digital-only media consumers. We’re off to a great start and already learning lessons about how to better build value in TV markets through digital services.” inShare0