Ken Lowe, CEO/President of Scripps Networks Interactive, told analysts on the broadcaster’s conference call that Travel Channel’s viewing in the UK is up 57 per cent y-o-y, echoing strong viewer loyalty in the US to Scripps’ brands. “Like HGTV, DIY Network enjoyed the most successful year in its history in 2013, and December broke records as the Network’s highest rated month; another great way to end the year.”
Internationally, Q4 capped off a very successful year with viewers around the world valuing our highly differentiated and entertaining program. In the UK, Travel Channel’s audience increased 57 per cent year-over-year while Food Network remain the most watched lifestyle television brand in the country. And we are making steady progress expanding our footprint and the new launches of Travel Channel in Russia, Poland and the Philippines underscore that.”
“Asian Food Channel meanwhile initiated service in Vietnam and Taiwan. And as we recently announced, we are launching service in Italy under the Fine Living brand utilising programming from the vast Scripps library.”
Scripps said: “Our international businesses generated $21 million of revenue included in our fourth quarter consolidated results. This was up 9 per cent from the prior year.”
As to actual numbers, Scripps reported revenues up 10 per cent to $2.5 billion driven by 10 per cent growth in both advertising and affiliate fee revenue. Drilling down into the numbers, advertising was up 9 per cent, although the overall revenues suffered by a reduction in some international licensing agreements. “Profit increased 6 per cent in 2013, reflecting the ongoing investments in programming, international and digital initiatives.” However, overall Q4 profit fell back 65 per cent because of special charges largely connected to the writing down of goodwill on the Travel Channel (and costing $24.7 million.
Lowe’s guidance for the current year was expected to see total revenue to rise between 6 per cent and 8 per cent. This increase reflected affected advertising revenue growth in the high single digits “driven primarily by the healthy advertising market we previously noted,” he added.