Scripps 2Q Profit Soars, But Newspaper Revenue And Earnings Slump

By: E&P Staff E.W. Scripps reported Tuesday that its second quarter profit jumped 37% because of a loss during the year-ago quarter on the sale of its Shop At Home network. Excluding that discontinued operation, second-quarter income fell to $97.7 million, or 59 cents per share, from $105 million, or 64 cents per share, a year ago.

Income from continuing operations was reduced by $5.4 million, after tax, or 3 cents a share, as a result of voluntary separation offers that were accepted by 137 employees at its newspapers during the second quarter, Scripps said.

Total newspaper revenue declined 8.9% to $166 million, and advertising revenue at newspapers managed solely by Scripps plunged 11% to $131 million, the Cincinnati media giant said.

Scripps said its newspaper segment profit dipped to $33.2 million compared with $55.1 million a year ago.

In the second quarter of 2006, the company noted, newspaper profit was helped by a $1.8 million hurricane recovery insurance settlement. During the second quarter of 2007, the voluntary separation payouts reduced newspaper profit by about $8.9 million.

Advertising was down in most categories, though preprint and online revenue were up a combined 4.2%, Scripps reported. Online revenue jumped 25% to $10.7 million.

Local ad revenue fell 14% to $35.3 million, classified slumped 18% to $48.8 million, and national was down 9.5% to $8.3 million.

Circulation revenue decreased 2.8% in the quarter to $29.6 million.

Newsprint expense was down, falling 19% because of lower consumption, and 9.4% because of the dip in newsprint prices.

Scripps said that excluding the cost of the voluntary separation plans, total cash expenses for newspapers managed solely by the company were down 1.3% compared with a year ago.


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