CINCINNATI -- The E.W. Scripps Co. achieved 51 percent revenue growth in the third quarter, buoyed by record-breaking levels of political spending and double-digit growth at Katz Broadcasting, acquired last year.
Scripps exceeded analyst expectations with a $19.1 million profit on revenue of $302.7 million. Revenue was about $10 million higher than Wall Street forecasts, while earnings of 24 cents per share was 8 pennies better than expected.
“We delivered terrific operating results across the board,” CEO Adam Symson said in a press release. “We also took significant action to execute our plan to reposition the company for improved operating performance and long-term growth.”
During the three months ending Sept. 30, Scripps announced a $521 million acquisition of 15 television stations from Cordilera Communications and a $150 million acquisition of Triton, a technology company that measures audience size for podcasters.
The Katz networks – Bounce, Grit, Escape and Laff – grew by 23 percent in the quarter, thanks to rising advertising rates and expanded distribution.
But the quarter’s biggest gains came from hotly contested congressional races in which candidates filled the airwaves with messages about health care and immigration. Voter turnout hit a 50-year high of 47 percent. Scripps received $140 million from political spending through Nov. 6, an 86 percent increase over same-station results in the 2014 midterm election.