Scripps hits all the right buttons

Scripps Networks’ international division continues to impress in terms of growth and ratings. Kenneth Lowe, Scripps’ chairman/CEO and president, told analysts during a call August 8, that Travel Channel and Food Network continuing to perform outstandingly well.

“We expanded our footprint with the acquisition of the Asian Food Channel in April,” said Lowe. “We also expanded in Europe. Food Network and Travel Channel both launched on Virgin Media in the UK, adding about 2.3 million subscribers. Food Network, we’re proud to say, was recently voted as the Best Specialist Channel of 2013 in the U.K. during the annual Freesat Awards. Now, we bested 180 different channels across 10 different genres, quite an accomplishment for a network that’s really new to the marketplace.”

“Food Network,” he added, “also launched in Turkey, Norway, Finland and Greece, while at the same time, Travel Channel launched on UPC Direct across Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia. Lots of progress internationally, and certainly more to come.”

Financially, it was a similar story. Joe NeCastro, CFO, told analysts: “I think the international operations for us are one of our most important investment opportunities for the company, and we’re going to continue to invest where we see opportunities. We obviously take a longer-term view of that avenue for growth and that opportunity to build value, so we’re going to invest where it’s appropriate. I think in the markets where we achieved scale, we certainly expect to turn profitable. But overall, we’re going to continue to invest wherever we think there’s an attractive return available.”

NeCastro continued: “I think, at this point, we are working very hard to execute the integration and the expansion of the Travel Channel International and now, certainly, of the Asian Food Channel and along with the sort of organic growth of the existing networks in new territories. As you know, we’ve been active [in terms of M&A]. They’ve tended to be smaller deals, but things that fit very, very well with the portfolio and with our management structure and team. We do have an appetite to do something bigger, we would love to, but we’re going to be disciplined about things that we think fit within the portfolio and that might provide a good return for our shareholders. As you know, there’s been a lot of enthusiasm around certain of these assets and these acquisitions.”

 

As to hard numbers Scripps’ consolidated revenues for Q2 increased 11 percent to $665 million from the prior-year period. Results for the quarter ended June 30 reflect strong advertising revenue of $462 million, up 11 percent.

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