Scripps Warns on 1Q Profit Growth

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Media company E.W. Scripps Co. warned Monday of a first-quarter profit growth slowdown, while maintaining its fourth-quarter earnings outlook.

The company said it expects first-quarter profit growth to be “limited” due to the absence of Super Bowl and Olympics advertising on its television stations, the timing of some investments and seasonality of its interactive media businesses.

Scripps reaffirmed its fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations in a range of 67 cents to 71 cents per share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial are looking for fourth-quarter earnings of 70 cents per share.

Scripps said it anticipates 2007 newspaper revenue growth in the low single digits, with most of the growth coming from newspaper internet enterprises.

Revenue from the Scripps Networks unit is seen gaining between 10 percent and 13 percent for the year. Scripps Interactive Media, which includes Shopzilla and uSwitch, is expected to show a 2007 profit between $80 million and $85 million.

Revenue at the company’s television station group is expected to decline between 3 percent and 5 percent next year due to significantly less political advertising revenue.

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