CINCINNATI — Fueled by the contributions of television stations acquired in 2011 and a surge in political advertising revenue, The E.W. Scripps Co. reported Friday that operating results for the third quarter of 2012 were substantially stronger than the year-ago quarter.
At $3.3 million, interest expense in the 2012 quarter was higher than in the prior-year quarter due to the acquisition of the TV stations, the parent company of the Naples Daily News reported.
"An aggressive realignment of our company over the past two years has positioned us to take advantage of improvements in our core television business, growth in digital audiences, and a huge surge in political advertising," said Rich Boehne, Scripps president and CEO. "In the television division, our investments in local news content, original programming to replace underperforming syndicated shows, and in sales infrastructure to maximize political dollars are all showing strong returns on investments. Also ahead of expectations are the four additional markets – Denver, Indianapolis, San Diego and Bakersfield – which we acquired at the end of last year."
Net income in the third quarter of 2012 was $12 million, or 21 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $10.7 million, or 19 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2011.
"In the newspaper division, we saw a positive upturn in real estate advertising driven by improvement in Florida, which is particularly critical to Scripps," Boehne said. "Overall expense control was good, and we're approaching the beginning of a move to bundled subscriptions for print and digital products, which we believe is both critical to the future health of the business and in line with growing consumer demand."
Scripps is rapidly rolling out new, market-leading digital products and services across its entire portfolio of local markets, Boehne said.
"A new round of improved apps for smartphones and tablets recently were released, and market by market we are expanding our advertising sales force to increase our share of the growing digital advertising pie," he said. "Enabling Scripps to seize these opportunities and build the value of the enterprise is one of the industry's strongest balance sheets. With no net debt and a growing pool of cash, we have the financial flexibility to consider a wide range of options that will produce the best returns to our shareholders."