E.W. Scripps

(SSP) - Get Report

posted a solid first quarter Thursday, citing strong results in its network TV business.

The Cincinnati-based company, which boasts TV networks including Home and Garden and Food Network as well as newspapers, also reaffirmed earnings guidance for the second quarter in spite of a soft outlook at its broadcast unit.

For the first quarter ended March 31, Scripps earned $70 million, or 42 cents a share. That's down slightly from $70.5 million, or 43 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue surged 14% from a year ago to $585 million.

The results beat Wall Street's expectations. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast a first-quarter profit of 38 cents a share on revenue of $566 million.

"Hearty double-digit revenue growth has been driven by outstanding performance at Scripps Television Networks," said Scripps CEO Ken Lowe, who cited the strength of its lifestyle-driven programming enterprises, which also include Fine Living and DIY -- Do It Yourself.

Advertising revenue at Scripps Networks was up 30% to $160 million. Revenue from affiliate fees paid by cable system and direct broadcast satellite operators increased 24% to $42 million.

The company expects to post a second-quarter profit of 51 to 55 cents a share, against 52 cents a year earlier and in line with the 52-cent Wall Street estimate. The company expects second-quarter advertising revenue for Scripps Networks to rise 25%-30% from a year ago, while newspaper ad revenue should rise 3%-5%. But broadcast TV revenue will drop 4%-6% because of the lack of political advertising this year coupled with a generally soft local TV ad market.

Scripps was flat early Thursday at $48.32.