Scripps Guides in Line

The quarter is on target.
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E.W. Scripps (SSP) - Get Report saw first-quarter profit growth on strength at its TV networks division.

The Cincinnati-based media company made $75 million, or 45 cents per share, for the quarter ended March 31. That compares to $70 million, or 42 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue grew 22% to $590 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson expected the company to earn 40 cents a share.

"The value of our long-term strategy at Scripps of investing in promising new growth businesses was evident once again in our quarterly financial results," said chief executive Kenneth Lowe. "Growth at our national lifestyle television networks and broadcast television stations, and an outstanding quarter at Shopzilla combined to drive up first quarter consolidated revenue, total segment profit and net income."

Results were helped by strength at Scripps' Networks division, which includes HGTV, Food Network and other cable networks. Profit at the network segment was up 32% year over year to $107 million. Total revenue for the Scripps Networks division increased 17% to $238 million.

Profit at its TV station group rose 38% to $22.5 million on advertising gains from the Super Bowl on its ABC stations and the Olympics on its NBC affiliates.

On the interactive side, which includes online retailers Shopzilla and uSwitch, first-quarter profit hit $13.9 million on revenue of $58.6 million.

The company provided second-quarter guidance. It expects revenue for its networks to be up 15% to 18% year over year and expenses to increase about 15%, as it continues to build out distribution of its television and online brands. It expects revenue to be up 3% to 5% at the company's newspaper and broadcast TV divisions. Scripps expects to make 58 cents to 62 cents a share for the second quarter, including dilution related to the acquisitions of Shopzilla and uSwitch of some 6 cents per share.

Analysts polled by Thomson currently expect Scripps to earn 59 cents a share.

On Tuesday morning, shares rose 74 cents to $45.30.