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What: Shares of The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP) were moving higher today, climbing as much as 15% on a strong fourth-quarter earnings report.
So what: The media company posted a per-share profit of $0.14, ahead of estimates at $0.13, as revenue dropped 15% to $220.8 million but still beat expectations of $216.7 million. Despite the overall drop in revenue, which was primarily due to lapping an election year, Scripps saw some growth in key areas such as core TV advertising and retransmission fees from cable and satellite providers, which moved up 17% and 42%, respectively. CEO Rich Boehne said he expected "core business to grow again in 2014," and the company will also get a boost from the political advertising season in the fall.
Now what: For the year ahead, management expects TV revenues, the bulk of its business, to grow more than 20% on a high-single-digit increase in expenses. Management did not provide earnings-per-share guidance, but that growth should lift full-year profits to at or above the $1.03 a share analysts are expecting. Recent acquisitions including the digital news service Newsy and two affiliate stations should also help the company get on a long-term growth track.
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