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Scripps reports Q2 2023 financial results

Aug. 4, 2023 By Carolyn Micheli

CINCINNATI – The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) delivered $583 million in revenue and $112 million in segment profit for the second quarter of 2023. Loss attributable to the shareholders of Scripps was $682 million or $8.10 per share. A non-cash goodwill impairment charge and restructuring costs for the quarter accounted for $8.01 of the per share loss.

Notes on results:

  • The WNBA Friday Night Spotlight on ION began its run on May 26 and has been steadily growing audience. Ratings for games on ION have grown 42% since the inaugural broadcast and continue to grow. Also, Scripps’ new independent stations in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City will begin running the Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights National Hockey League games with the preseason in late September. Advertising demand for both Scripps Sports properties has been strong.
  • In the Local Media segment, Scripps expects to have successfully renegotiated most of the pay TV households up for renewal this year by the end of the third quarter. The 2023 renewals account for 75% of Scripps’ total station footprint.
  • The Scripps Networks segment exceeded second-quarter revenue guidance. Higher ratings and increased demand in the scatter market drove the improvement. The portfolio’s second-quarter CTV revenue was up 18% year over year, fueled by audience growth, timing of network launches on streaming platforms and increases in hours of viewing.
  • Despite a solid second-quarter performance from Scripps Networks, a longer-than-anticipated advertising recession and ongoing macroeconomic headwinds led the company to record a $686 million non-cash charge to reduce the carrying value of goodwill in the networks business.
  • In late June, Scripps News began running live news programs on many of Scripps’ local television stations as part of their daily lineups. Scripps News programs have replaced very early-morning local newscasts (e.g., 4:30 a.m.) to free up local resources to concentrate on high-quality news production in the higher viewership time periods.
  • The company decided to increase the size of its revolver to $585 million and use the revolver to pay down its term loan B-1, which was scheduled to mature in October 2024. The new revolver better aligns with the company’s current scale and provides additional financial flexibility.

From Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson:

“In our Local Media segment, we are pleased to be making good progress on our distribution renewals, netting Scripps significant increases to market rate and leading to mid-teens distribution revenue growth this year as well as significant net distribution margin expansion. In local advertising, the most positive story was the return of automotive spending – our second-largest core advertising category. Automotive has now shown year over year growth for four consecutive quarters.

“At Scripps Networks, scatter market demand and audience ratings were better than we had anticipated for the second quarter, and we look forward to the rebound of our portfolio revenue upon the return of the national advertising marketplace.

“Our Scripps Sports division came to life in the second quarter with the launch of the WNBA on ION. We are very pleased to be attracting a large number of fans to this Friday night franchise, and recent games have surpassed WNBA ratings on other networks, including ESPN. We also are garnering premium advertising rates above our traditional ION programming lineup. Through free, paid and connected TV, we are thrilled to be bringing the excitement of women’s professional basketball to a much greater number of Americans each week. Women’s sports is at the earliest stages of its rightful recognition in the marketplace, and we’re pleased to play an important role in its growth in value.

“We’re also looking ahead to the start of our exclusive local distribution partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights, kicking off on Sept. 24. The Stanley Cup champions have an avid fan base and are beloved across the western U.S. We will be broadcasting their games in nine Scripps television markets, and local, regional and national advertising demand is strong.

“Scripps Sports and Scripps News are both important components to the reorganization we began at the start of the year. The reorganization is positioning the company to capture opportunities in the industry growth areas of news, sports and entertainment; TV distribution platforms including over the air and connected TV; and datacasting and other businesses enabled by our large spectrum footprint. We continue to expect to realize savings of at least $40 million through centralization and consolidation of layers of management as well as advances in newsroom technology and organizational structure that also allow us to put more reporters into the community and deepen our local coverage.”

Operating results
Total second-quarter company revenue was $583 million, a decrease of 2% or $11.6 million from the prior-year quarter. Costs and expenses for segments, shared services and corporate were $471 million, up from $463 million in the year-ago quarter.

Loss attributable to the shareholders of Scripps was $682 million or $8.10 per share. The pre-tax costs for the quarter included a non-cash goodwill impairment charge for Scripps Networks of $686 million as well as an $8 million restructuring charge, increasing the loss attributable to shareholders by $8.01 per share. In the prior-year quarter, income attributable to shareholders was $29.2 million or 32 cents per share.

Second-quarter 2023 results by segment compared to prior-period amounts:

Local Media
Revenue was $352 million, down 1% from the prior-year quarter.

  • Core advertising revenue decreased 5.2% to $149 million.
  • Political revenue was $3.8 million, compared to $24 million in the prior-year quarter, an election year.
  • Distribution revenue increased 14% to $195 million.

Segment expenses decreased 1.4% to $271 million, reflecting lower audience ratings services costs and advertising and promotion expenditures.

Segment profit was $81 million, compared to $80.7 million in the year-ago quarter.

Scripps Networks
Revenue was $231 million, down 3.2% from the prior-year quarter. Segment expenses were $171 million, up 3.2% from the prior-year quarter because of higher employee costs and distribution fees.

Segment profit was $60.3 million, compared to $73.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

Financial condition
On June 30, cash and cash equivalents totaled $39.3 million, and total debt was $3 billion.

During the first six months of 2023, we made mandatory principal payments of $9.3 million on our term loans.

Preferred stock dividends paid in 2023 were $24 million. Under the terms of Berkshire Hathaway’s preferred equity investment in Scripps, we are prohibited from paying dividends on or repurchasing our common shares until all preferred shares are redeemed.

On July 31, the company entered into the Eighth Amendment to the Third Amended Restated Credit Agreement, increasing our revolver borrowing capacity by $185 million to $585 million. We used borrowings on the revolver to pay down the remaining $283 million balance of our term loan maturing in 2024.

Year-to-date operating results

The following comparisons are to the period ending June 30, 2022:

In 2023, revenue was $1.1 billion, which compares to revenue of $1.2 billion in 2022. Political revenue was $7.4 million, compared to $30.8 million in the prior year.

Costs and expenses for segments, shared services and corporate were $926 million, up from $913 million in the year-ago period, reflecting higher employee costs and distribution fees at Scripps Networks.

Loss attributable to the shareholders of Scripps was $714 million or $8.49 per share. The pre-tax costs for the 2023 period included a non-cash goodwill impairment charge for Scripps Networks of $686 million as well as a $24.5 million restructuring charge, increasing the loss attributable to shareholders by $8.18 per share. In the prior year, income attributable to shareholders was $39 million or 42 cents per share. Pre-tax costs for the prior year included $1.6 million of acquisition and related integration costs as well as a $1.2 million gain on extinguishment of debt for the redemption of senior notes.


Conference call
The senior management of The E.W. Scripps Company will discuss the company’s quarterly results during a telephone conference call at 9:30 a.m. Eastern today. To access the live webcast, visit Scripps – Investor Informationand find the link under “upcoming events.”

To access the conference call by telephone, dial (877) 226-8152 (U.S.) or (234) 720-6982 (international) and give the access code 221779 approximately five minutes before the start of the call. Investors and analysts will need the name of the call (“Scripps earnings call”) to be granted access. The public is granted access to the conference call on a listen-only basis.

A replay line will be open from 12:30 p.m. Eastern time Aug. 4 until midnight Sept. 3. The domestic number to access the replay is (866) 207-1041 and the international number is (402) 970-0847. The access code for both numbers is 7872133.

A replay of the conference call will be archived and available online for an extended period of time following the call. To access the audio replay, visit Scripps – Investor Information approximately four hours after the call, and the link can be found on that page under “audio/video links.”

Forward-looking statements
This document contains certain forward-looking statements related to the company’s businesses that are based on management’s current expectations. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties, including changes in advertising demand and other economic conditions that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this document and should be evaluated with the understanding of their inherent uncertainty. A detailed discussion of principal risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results and events to differ materially from such forward-looking statements is included in the company’s Form 10-K, on file with the SEC, in the section titled “Risk Factors.” The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date such statements are made.

Media contact:
Michael Perry, The E.W. Scripps Company, (513) 259-4718, [email protected]

Investor contact: Carolyn Micheli, The E.W. Scripps Company, (513) 977-3732, [email protected]


About Scripps
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) is a diversified media company focused on creating a better-informed world. As one of the nation’s largest local TV broadcasters, Scripps serves communities with quality, objective local journalism and operates a portfolio of 61 stations in 41 markets. The Scripps Networks reach nearly every American through the national news outlets Court TV and Scripps News and popular entertainment brands ION, Bounce, Defy TV, Grit, ION Mystery and Laff. Scripps is the nation’s largest holder of broadcast spectrum. Scripps runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”