Scripps Lowers Earnings Outlook for Quarter, Year

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Media company E.W. Scripps Co. on Wednesday lowered its profit outlook for the quarter and the year, citing weaker than expected advertising sales at its newspapers and smaller profits at its online search businesses.

First-quarter income from continuing operations is expected to be 33 cents to 37 cents a share, compared with previous guidance of 39 cents to 43 cents a share. Income from continuing operations in the first quarter of 2006 was 49 cents a share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 43 cents a share for the first quarter and $2.45 a share for the year.

The company made no changes to its financial forecasts for Scripps Networks, its biggest operating division that includes HGTV and the Food Network. Total revenue is expected to be up 10 percent to 12 percent in the first quarter and up 10 percent to 13 percent for the year.

Newspaper revenue is expected to decline 6 percent to 8 percent in the first quarter compared with a year ago. The company had previously forecast newspaper revenue for the first quarter to decline 5 percent to 7 percent.

For the year, the company expects the percentage decrease in newspaper revenue to be in the low single digits, as previously forecast.

Scripps now expects its interactive media operations, which include online search and comparison shopping services Shopzilla and uSwitch, to break even in the first quarter compared with a previous forecast of a $9 million profit. For the full year, Scripps expects profits of $60 million to $70 million in its interactive operations, down from its previous forecast $80 million to $85 million.

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