You have to look pretty hard today to find a stock that's not being taken to the woodshed, but there's one that's making out just fine, thank you: media giant E.W. Scripps
Well, cheeriness is in the eye of the beholder, and what differentiated Scripps from The New York Times
By comparison, we might suspect the folks at Scripps are printing $20s, not newspapers. A 13.9% increase in first-quarter operating revenue fueled net income of $0.42 per share -- 13.5% better than the prior year's tally (ex-items). Leading the way, Scripps Networks' advertising revenue was up 30%. Standouts in the non-newspaper segments included Home & Garden Television, Fine Living, and the Food Network.
To take a quick detour, anyone want to bet on whether this thirst for "good life" programming might bode well for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
As a group, newspapers have been pummeled pretty well over the past months, and it's tough to argue that they haven't deserved it. A soft ad market and continuing economic jitters have investors wondering when -- if ever -- newspaper advertising revenue will return to how it was in the good old days. Scripps seems to be leading the way up for now, but trading at 28 times earnings and a similar multiple to free cash flow, the stock was already priced at a premium to most of its peers. That makes the stock look fairly, if not richly priced, to me, especially considering that the malady afflicting the rest of the industry tends to be catching.
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