It looks like the sputtering ad economy didn't affect Scripps (NYSE: SSP) too badly in Q1, as net income rose 22.8 percent to $84.1 million, or 51 cents per share, from last year's $68.5 million (42 cents per share). Meanwhile Q1 revenues gained 6.8 percent to $642 million compared with the same period a year ago. Those positive numbers were boosted by its cable and interactive segments, which helped to offset negative results within the Cincinnati-based media company's newspaper division and at its local broadcast outlets.
-- Online: Scripps' Interactive Media, after some struggles last year, experienced a turnaround in Q1. Interactive, which includes online comparison shopping services Shopzilla and uSwitch, saw Q1 revenue rise 23 percent to $77.5 million, as the segment's profit swung to positive with $21 million compared with a $15 million loss during the same period a year earlier. The Interactive Media division's growth in the quarter was attributed to Shopzilla's higher user traffic as as well as lower expenses at uSwitch in the UK.
-- Cable: Scripps Networks, which includes the cable TV properties HGTV, Food Network and DIY Network, Q1 revenue grew 15 percent year-over-year to $311 million. Segment profit for the division also increased 15 percent to $147 million. Scripps Networks accounted for roughly half of the company's consolidated revenue during the first quarter.
-- Newspapers/local broadcast: The company's newspapers and TV stations, first quarter operating performance was affected by industry-wide weakness in local advertising sales. Q1revenue at Scripps newspapers was down 8.3 percent, year-over-year, to $156 million. Disappointingly, newspaper online revenue was $10 million, which was flat compared to Q107. Overall, newspaper segment profit for the quarter was $27.6 million versus $29.3 million last year - a 5.8 percent decline.
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By David Kaplan