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Scripps Too Finds Breaking Up Is Easy To Do In Cable

Friday, 13 Jun 2008 | 2:35 PM ET

Synergy is sooo passe, so 1999. It seems investors can get confused by the sum of a company's parts, so media moguls have been taking a strategy of divide and conquer.

There was the Viacom -CBS split, IAC is looking to split into five companies, and Time Warner is fully splitting off its cable division. Speaking of cable, Discovery is relaunching its stock to make it easier to invest in its growing cable programming business.

Now E.W. Scripps is taking a similar strategy. TheSEC just approved the plan to split the company's fast and slow growing divisions. A common strategy in this media landscape where old media seems slow and archaic compared to dynamic web-fueled growth.

One company, Scripps Networks Interactive will include its cable networks: Food Network, HG TV, DIY Network, plus online comparison shopping sites Shopzilla and USwitch. With the food network churning out stars and attracting unprecedented viewers, there's no question that cable programming is hot. The company expects this division to see a revenue increase in the high single digits compared to last year.

The other E.W.Scripps (it'll continue to trade under the current SSP symbol) will have 10 broadcast TV stations and newspapers in 15 US markets. Needless to say, this division relies much more on the volatile and depressed advertising market. And local newspapers haven't yet found a new strategy as they struggle to reinvent themselves. The company forecasts that this division will see revenues fall 8 to 10 percent year-over-year (Ouch) even as TV revenues rise 16 to 18 percent thanks to presidential campaign ads.

Scripps announced this plan in October, and today the stock was trading up slightly on this news.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.