CINCINNATI -- Have you heard the Newsy?
E.W. Scripps Co. shares rallied Monday after the company reported better-than-expected revenue growth, including a tripling of revenue at Newsy, a digital news platform that Scripps acquired in 2013.
Scripps lost $26.4 million in its first quarter on revenue of $254.2 million. Excluding discontinued operations and restructuring charges, Scripps lost 7 cents per share, a penny less than Wall Street analysts were forecasting. Revenue was $1.6 million better than expectations, which helped drive Scripps shares up more than 9 percent to $12.26 in mid-day trades.
Scripps is the parent of WCPO.
Much of the revenue growth came from Scripps’ national media division, which includes the podcasting company Midroll, Newsy and Katz Networks – acquired last year. The division posted $60.7 million in total revenue, up 42 percent in the last year.
Newsy grew 218 percent to $3.7 million, as it expanded its reach to cable and satellite subscribers plus users of apps like Roku and Amazon Fire. Scripps said Newsy will reach 40 million households by the end of this year, as it expands its content offerings into nonfiction story telling and a video-based version of Politifact, a fact-checking feature on political campaigns.
“This is one of the many economically efficient, on brand and journalistically sound partnerships that Newsy is forming,” said Laura Tomlin, Scripps’ senior vice president of national media. “These partnerships allow us to expand the breadth of topics and formats Newsy can offer viewers.”
Monday's stock rally comes in handy for Scripps, which faces a proxy vote Thursday in which shareholders are considering a rival slate of directors from activist investor Mario Gabelli. Until Monday, Scripps shares were down 28 percent for the year, as Gabelli criticize the company for being less profitable than its peers in its broadcast operations.
CEO Adam Symson said Scripps’ first-quarter results showed “tangible impact” from a restructuring plan announced last September.
“We began the execution of our cost-cutting initiatives, are exploring potential television station swap opportunities and are divesting our radio stations,” Symson said. “The aggressive plan we outlined in September is specific and actionable and will drive meaningful margin and cash-flow improvement.”