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Q3-2015: E. W. Scripps revenue up 49%; Retransmission revenue doubles

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BENGALURU: The E.W. Scripps Company (EWS) reported 49.2 per cent YoY growth in consolidated revenue from continuing operations for the quarter ended 30 September, 2015 (Q3-2015, current quarter) at $189.69 million as compared to $123.13 million in the corresponding year ago quarter.

The company’s advertisement revenue in the current quarter increased 39.8 per cent to $144.98 million as compared to the $103.70 million in the corresponding year ago quarter. Retransmission revenue more than doubled YoY (was 2.4 times) at $36.29 million as compared to $15.24 million in Q3-2014. ‘Other’ revenues also more than doubled to $ 8.42 million from $4.19 million in the year ago quarter.

EWS net loss for Q3-2015 increased to $24.44 million as compared to the loss of $1.34 million in Q3-2014. EWS reported net loss of $24.44 million from continuing operation as compared to a profit of $1.04 million in Q3-2014. Net loss from discontinued operations in the current quarter was NIL as compared to a net loss of $2.38 million in Q3-2014. 

Net loss per basic share of common stock was $0.29 in the current quarter as compared to a net income of $0.02 in Q2-2014.

EWS chairman, president and CEO Rich Boehne said, "Third-quarter performance in our core broadcast television business was aided by a comeback in automotive advertising and a leap in retransmission fees. The increase in retransmission revenue alone offset the decline in political advertising revenue in the off-cycle year."

"In our TV markets we’re setting the stage for 2016, when increases in local news ratings, a 50 percent increase in retransmission fees, and presidential election spending across an expanded footprint of potential swing states should come together for a strong performance," he added. 

“Also in the third quarter, we expanded our reach into the fast-growing over-the-top media marketplace with the accelerated rollout of our OTT video news service Newsy. This service aimed at millennial news audiences now also includes OTT distribution on Apple TV, Comcast’s Watchable, Roku, Amazon’s Fire TV, Google Chromecast, PlutoTV and Xumo, with more to come shortly. Our expanded ambition for Newsy, changes in the marketplace, and our commitment to invest in this strategy led us to a pivot in the business model," he said. 

“On the audio side of our over-the-top strategy, we purchased Midroll, a leading podcast producer and advertising network, and then launched its subscription-based app, Howl, to strong response. Not only is Midroll a growing content play for mobile-media consumers, it’s also designed to be an alternative advertising model that largely defies ad blocking."

“While working to build value through our current and evolving businesses, we also used our strong balance sheet and cash flow to repurchase shares. We expect our overall financial position to further strengthen as we move through the presidential election year and top our four-year business cycle.”

Segment numbers

The company has four segments: Television, Radio, Digital, Syndication and other.

EWS’ Television segment revenue in the current quarter increased 35.2 per cent to $157.44 million $116.44 million in the corresponding year ago quarter. Operating income for the segment in Q3-2015 increased two per cent to $31.71 million from $30.51 million in the corresponding year ago quarter.

On 1 April, 2015, EWS acquired the broadcast group owned by Journal Communications, Inc. The businesses acquired included 12 television stations and 34 radio stations. EWS’ Radio segment reported revenue in Q3-2015 of $20.42 million. The segment reported operating income of $4.07 million in the current quarter.

EWS’ Digital segment revenues in the current quarter more than doubled to $10.86 million as compared to the $5.36 million in q2-2014. The segment reported lower operating loss of $3.64 million in the current quarter as compared to $6.21 million in Q2-2014.

EWS’ Syndication and other segment reported 27.8 per cent decline in operating revenue to $0.97 million as compared to $1.35 million in the corresponding year ago quarter. The segment’s loss in the current quarter declined to $0.57 million from $0.67 million in the corresponding year ago quarter.

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