Scripps today reported first-quarter revenues of $198.7 million, shy of the $203.2 million Wall Street was expecting, but losses of a nickel per share were narrower than the year-ago period and adjusted earnings beat out consensus estimates by a penny per share.
The first quarter tends to be the weakest for Scripps in terms of revenues and this year the quarter was exacerbated by the lack of political advertising, which tends to boost operations but caused a drop in television revenues this time around despite an increase in retransmission fees. Newspaper revenues were down 5% and syndication revenues fell to $2.3 million from $3.2 million a year ago.
Scripps CEO Rich Boehne said: "Following record-setting profit performance in 2012, we launched into 2013 determined to substantially upgrade our digital revenue platforms, launch a series of new local digital products, and rebuild our newspaper business models around bundled subscriptions for digital and print audiences," but he noted the lack of political advertising revenues would weigh down performance.
"These tough year-over-year revenue comparisons caused by cyclical political advertising will continue through the balance of 2013," he concluded.
Scripps is a leading media enterprise operating television stations, newspapers, and the Scripps Howard News Service. Since 1941 it's also hosted the National Spelling Bee. It had over $903 million in revenues in 2012.