Scripps beats the Street on profit, revenue | Major Businesses | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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US broadcast conglomerate E.W. Scripps posted revenues of $302.73 million for the quarter ended September 2018, surpassing the Wall Street estimates by 4.7%, or about $10 million.

scripps 10 nov 2018That represents 51% revenue growth in the third quarter, thanks to unprecedented levels of political spending and double-digit growth at Katz Broadcasting, which Scripps acquired last year.

The company, which owns local TV stations across the country, also exceeded analyst expectations with a $19.1 million profit; its earnings of 24 cents per share was 8 pennies better, or 33% better, than the expected 18 cents per share.

For comparison, a year ago the company saw revenues of $216.45 million and a net loss of 3 cents per share a year ago. Since then, the company has topped consensus estimates three times over the last four quarters.

A big factor in the results was an uptick in political spending ahead of the hotly contested US midterm elections. Scripps received $140 million from political spending through Nov. 6, which is a significant 86% increase over same-station results in the 2014 midterm election.

Also, the Katz networks, which distribute programming for targeted audiences over the air, grew by 23% in the quarter, thanks to rising advertising rates and expanded distribution. Katz’ four national networks — Bounce, Grit, Escape and Laff — each reach more than 90% of all US households.

“We delivered terrific operating results across the board,” Scripps CEO Adam Symson said. “We also took significant action to execute our plan to reposition the company for improved operating performance and long-term growth.”

During the three months ending Sept. 30, Scripps announced a $521 million acquisition of 15 television stations from Cordilera Communications, and also said it would acquire podcast ratings company Triton for $150 million.

“It will be interesting to see how estimates for the coming quarters and current fiscal year change in the days ahead,” Zacks Equity Research said in a *** breakdown of the stock. “The current consensus EPS estimate is $0.58 on $336.40 million in revenues for the coming quarter and $0.70 on $1.16 billion in revenues for the current fiscal year.”

The earnings statement comes shortly after the board of directors of declared a cash dividend for the fourth quarter of 2018. Those holding shares of Scripps as of 14 December will receive 5 cents per share on the day after Christmas. The dividend will be paid out of the company’s capital surplus.

The broadcast giant reinitiated a quarterly dividend in February 2018, but said that it would not be an automatic guarantee.