Scripps Trimmed Execs’ Pay

3/22/2010 12:38 PM Eastern

Scripps Networks Interactive executives
took a pay cut in 2009, as the economy weighed
heavily on stock-based compensation, despite the
parent of HGTV and Food Network having a strong
year financially.

Scripps executive vice president and Networks president
John Lansing took the biggest hit, according to
the company’s proxy statement, filed with the Securities
and Exchange Commission on March 15. Lansing’s
overall compensation fell 18.3% in 2009 to $2.7 million
from $3.3 million in 2008. The difference was mainly a
decline in the value of stock-option awards during the
year as his base salary remained $700,000. His option
awards were more than cut in half from $1.2 million in
2008 to $547,062
in 2009.

Chairman and
CEO Ken Lowe’s
total compensation
5.1%, to $6.97
million in 2009,
and execut ive
vice president
and chief financial
officer Joseph
total compensation
fell 10.1%
for the year, to
$2.7 million. In
both cases, lower
stock option
awards were the
main reason for
the shortfall.

The pay cuts
come on the
heels of what
was a strong
year for Scripps
— 2009 revenue
was down slightly
to $1.5 billion
from $1.6 billion
in the prior year,
but net income
skyrocketed to
$304 million
compared to
$23.6 million in
the prior year.

Better times could be ahead. Scripps predicts that affiliate-fee revenue, which increased 16% in 2009 to $322
million, will rise again in 2010 to between $530 million
and $540 million. That increase will be fueled by the addition
of the Travel Channel (which Scripps acquired
in December) for the full year and rate increases due
its HGTV and Food networks. Scripps estimated that
Travel will generate about $100 million in affiliate fees
in 2010.