Online advertising is racing ahead at Yahoo!
Backing out a one-time $25.9 million ($0.16 per share) gain from last year's fourth quarter, earnings rose nearly 20% to $0.55 -- topping estimates -- on revenues that climbed 18% to $607 million. Little of that growth, though, came from the company's 21 daily newspapers, which delivered just a meager 2.5% rise in advertising sales -- in line with the 3.2% improvement reported by The New York Times
Fortunately, the company's television networks picked up the slack. Revenues in the segment jumped 32% to $205 million, driven by a 25% increase in advertising-fee revenue and a 70% jump in affiliate-fee revenue. The company's portfolio of national networks includes Fine Living, Great American Country, and the Food Network, but Home & Garden Television (HGTV) continues to lead the pack. The flagship network boasts 87 million subscribers, has lifted revenues above the $100 million mark, and generated more than half of the segment's $91 million profit last quarter.
Scripps also operates nearly a dozen television stations affiliated with ABC and NBC, including stations in Ohio and Florida, which were both key battleground states in the presidential election. Political advertising contributed $41.5 million in revenues for the full year and peaked during the fourth quarter, helping broadcasting profits surge by 51%.
Scripps sometimes gets overshadowed by its larger rivals in the newspaper world. But its dependence on this mature business segment is declining, while its popular programming assets, which have taken command as the firm's largest producer of revenues and earnings alike, continue to thrive. The company has also developed a shop-at-home channel, whose retail sales ($90 million last quarter) will further help insulate the company from a sluggish advertising market.
Still, losses for the shopping channel have widened, and several of the newer networks are also still draining money. At this point, the stock -- which trades around 26 times trailing earnings -- may be worth a look, but it's not exactly front-page material.
Take a look back at some of yesterday's headlines:
Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter owns none of the companies mentioned.