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Scripps Networks Strong in 4Q

1/25/2005 5:46 AM Eastern

E.W. Scripps Co. said Tuesday that a strong performance at its Scripps Networks division continued to drive the company's financial growth in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Scripps Networks segment profit was up 37% year-over-year to $91 million, and total revenue rose 32% to $205 million.

The unit includes Home & Garden Television, Food Network, Do It Yourself, Fine Living, Great American Country and HGTVPro.com, a business-to-business broadband channel launched earlier this month.

At home shopping channel Shop at Home, fourth-quarter revenue rose 37% to $89.4 million and the network’s net loss was $8 million versus $6.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2003.

HGTV contributed $55.8 million to segment profit, up 25%, and revenue at the network jumped 23% to $102 million.

At Food, revenue was up 41 % to $86.9 million and the network contributed $44.7 million to segment profit, up 48% from the year-ago period.

DIY brought in $8.8 million in revenue compared with $6.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2003 and cut its operating losses to $1.1 million from $1.7 million.

And Fine Living revenues rose to $5.1 million from about $3.5 million in the year-earlier quarter, with operating losses approximately flat at $5.8 million.

The parent company's operating revenue was up 18% year-over-year to $607 million, and operating income rose 21% to $140 million. Net income was $91.3 million, or 55 cents per share, versus $102 million (62 cents) in the fourth quarter of 2003.

"Our top priority has been the expansion of Scripps Networks, which, during 2004, became the company's largest operating division, both in terms of revenue and segment profit," E.W. Scripps CEO Kenneth W. Lowe said in a prepared statement.

"That milestone was reached as we celebrated HGTV's 10th anniversary, saw tremendous growth in profitability at both HGTV and Food and added our newest network, GAC, to our growing portfolio of popular lifestyle networks,” he added.