Scripps Q1 Earnings Up 32%

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(AP) Scripps 1st-Qtr. Earnings Up 32 Percent (AP) The E.W. Scripps Co. said Thursday that first-quarter earnings increased 32%, reflecting strong performance by the company’s cable television channels.

For the three months ending March 31, the media company that also owns newspapers, TV stations, and a news service earned $52.7 million, or 65 cents per share, up from $39.9 million, or 50 cents per share, in 2002.

Revenue increased 29% to $445.2 million from $344.7 million a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had projected earnings of 67 cents per share for the latest quarter.

In morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Scripps shares were down $2.63, or 3.3%, to $76.76.

Excluding net investment income from 2002, the 2003 first-quarter net income increased 16%. Net income for the first quarter of 2002 was affected by an after-tax charge of $5.4 million, or 7 cents a share.

Scripps’ improved earnings in the latest quarter reflected strong performance by its cable channels — Home & Garden Television, Food Network, the Do It Yourself Network, and Fine Living — which are in the Scripps Networks operating division. The company will continue investing in those channels, said Kenneth W. Lowe, Scripps’ president and chief executive officer.

Scripps operates 21 daily newspapers, 10 broadcast TV stations, the four cable television channels, and a home shopping network. It also operates Scripps Howard News Service; United Media, which licenses and syndicates the “Peanuts” and “Dilbert” comic strips; and Web sites including hgtv.com, foodtv.com, diynet.com, fineliving.com, and comics.com.

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