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E.W. Scripps Q1 Loss Narrows, Results Beat View

( - Media company E.W. Scripps Co. (SSP) on Friday reported a loss for the first quarter that narrowed from last year on higher revenues at its television segment, driven by strong local advertising and retransmission revenue growth as well as higher-than-expected political advertising revenue. Loss per share for the quarter came in narrower than analysts' expectations and revenues beat their estimates.

In the latest quarter, revenue from television stations rose 5 percent from the prior-year quarter to $102.14 million. The results include $2.7 million of political revenue and $1.7 million in incremental 2014 Winter Olympics advertising on the company's three NBC-affiliated stations.

Retransmission fees from cable and satellite providers increased 20 percent to $12.5 million. In 2014, the company will renegotiate retransmission agreements covering more than one-third of its subscribers.

Revenue from newspapers for the quarter was $98.49 million, down 1 percent from the year-ago period. The company noted that continued decline in advertising and marketing services revenue was partly offset by an increase in subscription revenue. The segment saw a 6 percent rise in subscription revenue, driven by the subscription bundles introduced in 2013 as well as single-copy price increases.

Syndication and other revenues surged 38 percent from last year to $3.16 million.

For the first quarter, net loss attributable to the company narrowed to $0.61 million or $0.01 per share from $2.67 million or $0.05 per share in the previous-year quarter. Two analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report loss of $0.13 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Consolidated operating revenues for the quarter grew 3 percent to $203.79 million from $198.65 million in the same period last year and beat analysts' consensus estimate of $201.55 million. The higher revenues primarily reflect the increases in retransmission revenue, political advertising and subscription revenue.

Looking ahead to the second quarter, E.W. Scripps forecast television revenues and expenses to increase in the high-single digits from last year, while it projects newspaper revenues and expenses to be about flat with the prior year.

SSP is currently trading at $19.04, up $1.50 or 8.55 percent on a volume of 125,108 shares.

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