Strong results at its Scripps Networks subsidiary helped to boost E.W. Scripps in the first quarter of 2007.
Advertising revenue at the programming unit rose 10% to $206 million, while affiliate-fee revenue of $57.9 million was up 20% compared with the first quarter of 2006. Programming, marketing and other expenses increased 5.7% to $110 million and employee costs were up 19% to $35.9 million. Segment profit was $128 million, up 20% from $107 million in the prior-year period.
As for Scripps Networks’ individual services:
• Revenue at Home & Garden Television rose 12% to $134 million, and the network now reaches about 92 million domestic subscribers versus 90 million at the end of the first quarter of 2006.
• Food Network saw revenue jump 15% to $108 million. The network also currently reaches about 92 million domestic subscribers, up from 89 million at the end of the year-ago period.
• Revenue at DIY Network was $11.5 million, up 7.7%. DIY can now be seen in about 43 million households, up from some 36 million at the end of the previous-year quarter.
• Fine Living’s revenue was up 24% to $10.3 million, and the network now reaches about 45 million households versus 37 million at this time one year ago.
• Revenue at Great American Country was $5.6 million, up 18% year over year, and GAC can be seen in about 47 million homes compared with 41 million at the end of the first quarter of 2006.
Operating results from Shop at Home were reclassified as discontinued operations for all periods presented in the company's financial statements. Scripps sold the network in June 2006 and announced in September that it had reached an agreement to sell its five Shop at Home-affiliated broadcast-television stations.
Overall at E.W. Scripps, first-quarter income from continuing operations was $64.7 million, or 39 cents per share, versus $81.5 million (49 cents) during the year-earlier quarter.
“Strong financial performance at our national lifestyle television networks continued to drive the company's consolidated results during the first quarter, but as good as business was at our networks, it wasn't enough to overcome lower profits at our local media businesses and Scripps Interactive Media," E.W. Scripps CEO Kenneth W. Lowe said in a prepared statement.