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What: Shares of E.W. Scripps (NYSE:SSP) were down as much as 12% after missing earnings estimates in its quarterly report this morning.
So what: The diversified media company posted earnings per share of $0.47, $0.09 below analyst estimates, while revenue grew 32% to $260 million, essentially in line with the consensus. EPS more than quadrupled from $0.11 a year ago. While revenue growth was strong, that jump came primarily from political advertising in the 2012 election season, and in the off year of 2013, management sees a decline in revenue from its television and newspaper segments. CEO Rich Boehne credited his company's strategy of "improving local news programming resulting in an attractive platform for political advertising."
Now what: The jump in earnings and sales is impressive, but earnings is an expectations game on Wall Street, and in that regard, Scripps came up short. It sees TV revenue declining by the high single digits and newspaper revenue down in the low single digits for 2013. Though management expects newspaper expenses to decrease faster than revenue, Scripps' business model doesn't look like a recipe for success, especially considering the secular decline in newspapers. Add in the fact that the stock is relatively expensive, and there seems little reason to invest.
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