U.S. News

E.W. Scripps posts narrower 1Q loss


E.W. Scripps Co. posted a smaller first-quarter net loss Monday, with ad dollars flowing back to its TV stations and expenses dropping at its newspapers.

Its shares rose more than 3 percent in morning trading.

Media companies have been reporting an improving ad market for months as businesses start to spend again to attract customers.

Even newspapers, which have lagged in the recovery behind television and Web advertising, say the ad slump is easing. In part, that's because newspapers are comparing this year's results to sharply lower results a year ago. The industry still face the long-term threat of readers and advertisers migrating to online rivals.

Overall, E.W. Scripps reported a net loss of $880,000, or 2 cents per share, in the first three months of the year. That's down from a loss of $220.7 million, or $4.12 per share, a year ago, when the company took big one-time charges to write down the value of its assets.

Revenue slipped 3 percent to $199 million.

TV revenue climbed 11 percent; advertising sales improved and the fees its broadcast stations charge cable operators to run their signals went up. The TV segment had an operating profit of $6.6 million, compared with a year-ago loss of $2.4 million.

Newspaper revenue fell 7.6 percent, with advertising revenue down 12 percent. By comparison, newspaper ad revenue was down 20 percent in the fourth quarter. The smaller decline and a 19 percent drop in expenses helped the newspaper division make an operating profit of $16.6 million, up from $2.9 million a year ago.

Its shares rose 31 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $9.55 in morning trading. Its shares have traded in a range of $1.65 to $11.76 in the past year.