Lowe: Food Can Be a $1 Billion Network

Scripps Chief Says Travel Channel Poised for Growth

Scripps Networks Interactive chairman and CEO Ken Lowe told an audience at an industry conference Tuesday that he expects the programmer’s flagship Food Network to grow to $1 billion in revenue over the next few years.

At the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, Lowe said he would be “disappointed” if Food didn’t top the $1 billion mark in two to three years.

According to Scripps 2011 annual report, Food tallied about $745 million in total revenue in 2011, up about 12.1% from the year before. In the first nine months of 2012, the network reported revenue of about $616 million, up 13.8% from the prior year.

While Food Network has been growing at a healthy clip, Lowe added that its Travel Channel network is its biggest opportunity for growth. Scripps purchased Travel Channel in 2009 for about $1 billion.

Lowe said the priority for the next few years will be to boost Travel’s hours of programming – at between 400 and 450 hours per year it airs about half the 850 annual hours of HGTV and Food.

“It takes awhile to build a brand. Plenty of people never imagined Food would be a top 10 network,” Lowe said, adding that Travel has the attributes to easily be a top 15 network.

Lowe said that investors should look to see Scripps continue to invest in programming across the board.

“It is the lifeblood of what we do,” Lowe said.