Cable Operators

Scripps: More TV Everywhere Deals to Come

Effective Ratings Measurement Will Drive Success 1/08/2013 9:59 AM Eastern

Scripps Networks Interactive chairman and CEO Ken Lowe said he expects to sign on more TV Everywhere deals in the next 18-to-24 months for his channels, but stressed that effective ratings measurement is needed for the service to proliferate.

Scripps signed a comprehensive carriage deal – including TV Everywhere – with Comcast in July and Lowe said the networks have similar deals with about 60% of its distributors. He added that Scripps channels, especially Food Network, can benefit from TV Everywhere deals because it could prolong the time that viewers watch its shows as they take their tablets or smartphones into the kitchen as they cook.

“It probably is going to give us an opportunity to have longer viewing periods, we could actually see more ratings because you’ve got multiple uses of devices throughout the home as opposed to just one stationary TV screen,” Lowe said at the Citigroup Global Internet, Media and Telecommunications conference in Las Vegas. “We’re very positive about the future of TV Everywhere. But I do think it is incumbent on the industry – we have got to get the measurement right as quickly as possible.”

While Nielsen Media Research has said consistently that it can accurately measure TV Everywhere ratings, Lowe said the disconnect centers on pricing and technical issues with ratings companies, programmers and distributors.

Scripps chief financial officer Joe NeCastro, also speaking at the conference, said that those issues will be worked out, but probably not until later his year or next year.

Lowe was optimistic about the advertising market – he said that Scripps will meet its guidance of mid-single digit advertising revenue increases in the fourth quarter. He added that the Travel Channel, which Scripps purchased in 2009,  continues to be its single greatest growth opportunity. Scripps has been investing in original programming for Travel – and has scored some success with Baggage Battles and Airport 24/: Miami – and will continue to pump capital into new shows. On the acquisitions front, Lowe said Scripps will take a prudent approach, with any activity likely to be focused on small international acquisitions. Acquiring the remaining 33% interest in Food Network from Tribune Co. – which recently exited bankruptcy  – and the 35% interest in Travel Channel from Cox Communications also are possibilities in the next year or two.

September