Strong 1Q for Scripps Networks

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Robust results from Scripps Networks helped to propel parent company The E.W. Scripps Co. to a solid first quarter.

The programmer also announced a partnership with publisher The Taunton Press.

Segment profit at Scripps Networks -- which includes Home & Garden Television, Food Network, DIY, Fine Living and Great American Country -- rose 32% year-over-year to $107 million. Total revenue was up 17% to $238 million, and advertising revenue also climbed 17% to $187 million.

At Scripps’ interactive-media division -- which includes Shopzilla (www.shopzilla.com) and uSwitch (www.uswitch.com) -- first-quarter segment profit reached $13.9 million on revenue of $58.6 million.

At the company as a whole, first-quarter income from continuing operations was $81.5 million, or 49 cents per share, versus $72.9 million (44 cents) in the year-ago period. Scripps said earnings were affected, in part, by the expensing of employee stock options, which commenced Jan. 1, lowering net income for the period by $5.3 million, or 3 cents per share.

“A full 11 years after we created and launched HGTV, our Scripps Networks division continues to deliver double-digit revenue and segment-profit growth," Scripps CEO Kenneth W. Lowe said in a prepared statement.

"The strong financial performance at both HGTV and Food Network is directly attributable to their appeal to an ever-growing number of media consumers,” he added. “Solid schedules of informative and entertaining lifestyle programming resulted in ratings and viewership growth at both networks during the first quarter.”

As for the Taunton deal, the multiyear pact will allow Scripps Networks' online properties to use select content, material and photos from the publisher’s books and magazines in the areas of homebuilding, gardening, woodworking and cooking.

And Taunton will be able to use Scripps Networks' online properties to help drive a larger audience to its magazines and books.

Taunton's niche magazines include Fine Woodworking, Fine Homebuilding, Fine Gardening, Fine Cooking and Threads.

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