Articles about "E.W. Scripps"


Scripps and Journal is just the latest in a series of mega broadcast mergers

There is an underlying fact that makes the Scripps and Journal deal make sense: Broadcasting is still profitable. Second quarter earnings have been strong and topped last year’s numbers.

Wall Street loves broadcasting, and bigger broadcast companies do better than smaller ones these days. Bigger companies have more leverage to negotiate retransmission deals with cable companies. Once this deal is approved, Scripps will be the powerhouse owner of ABC stations, which gives the company leverage to influence the network. Scripps stock hit five-year highs Thursday in response to the news that the company was spinning off its newspapers from the broadcast and online properties.

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Wednesday’s  deal is part of a mosaic of mega-media mergers that have produced super-sized broadcast owners that are more than twice the size of what they were only a decade ago. These giant companies include Sinclair, Nexstar, Media General, Gannett, Gray and others all of whom have grown considerably even while newspapers retreat.

All have seen stocks soar to at or around five-year peaks.

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Scripps is not new to the spinoff play. In 2008, riding on a wave of popularity with its food and lifestyle cable channels, the company created Scripps Networks Interactive, which includes Food Network, The Travel Channel, HGTV and the Cooking Channel. The new company’s value has been steadily rising since the spinoff.

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Last year, Scripps paid $110 million cash for ABC affiliate WKBW in Buffalo and WMYD, a MyNetworkTV affiliate in Detroit, where Scripps owns WXYZ as well. In 2011, Scripps bought up the McGraw-Hill group for $212 million cash.

This year, Scripps made news by adding staff and launching a paywalled broadcast news website at WCPO in Cincinnati. The group said it intended to produce Web-exclusive material that would be worth paying for and if the gamble worked, it would expand the idea to other markets. It has not expanded yet.

Look at this chart Pew Research published in May, which showed how the biggest owners have grown even before the Scripps-Journal deal. (With stations in 27 markets, the Scripps/Journal deal will make that company the fifth-largest holder of television stations in the country.)


1-TV-News-ViewingAnd local television still is the main source of local news for Americans.

Local broadcasters also are rising a wave of favorable Supreme Court decisions. Broadcast stocks rocketed after the Supreme Court struck down Aereo’s attempt to pass along local station signals without paying for them, and the court’s Citizens United decision virtually assures the windfall from political ads will continue.

Some of the biggest broadcast players, including Scripps, Sinclair, Gray and Nexstar are heavily invested in states that have the most heated midterm political elections this year. Early forecasts predicted a $2.6 billion spend on midterm races this year, rivaling the $2.9 billion spent in the last presidential election.

Scripps stations also have a history of being deeply involved in community affairs. The Scripps Howard Foundation contributes millions to local causes and educational institutions in markets where it has properties. (Disclosure: The Poynter Institute received $20k in support from SHF in 2013 and 2014 and Poynter hosts the Scripps Howard National Awards judging each year.) Read more

New York Times Slim

NYT acknowledges Carol Vogel lifted from Wikipedia

mediawiremorningGood morning. 10-ish, anyone?

  1. NYT acknowledges Carol Vogel lifted from Wikipedia: Part of a July 25 column “used specific language and details from a Wikipedia article without attribution; it should not have been published in that form,” a grisly editor’s note reads. (NYT) | Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told Ravi Somaiya “editors have dealt with Carol on the issue.” (NYT) | “It seems to me that there can be little dispute about the claim,” Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote Wednesday. “Anyone can see the similarity.” (NYT)
  2. E.W. Scripps Co. and Journal Communications will combine broadcast properties, spin off newspapers: The companies “are so similar and share the deep commitment to public service through enterprise journalism,” Scripps Chairman Richard A. Boehne says. Among the newspapers in the new company, named Journal Media Group: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The (Memphis, Tennessee) Commercial Appeal (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) | “The complicated transaction is the latest move by media companies to focus on either television or print operations, with nearly all choosing to leave behind the slower-growing print business.” (NYT) | Al Tompkins: Scripps “is well positioned to cash in on mid-term political spending with stations in hotly contested political grounds of Ohio and Florida.” (Poynter) | “This deal looks much better for print spinoff than the Tribune deal. No debt or pension obligation. That is huge.” (@dlboardman)
  3. News Corp may bring back something like The Daily: It’s “working on an app-based news service aimed at ‘millennial’ readers” that would “would blend original reporting with repurposed content from News Corp properties such as the Wall Street Journal,” Matthew Garrahan reports. (FT) | Earlier this month, News Corp VP of product Kareem Amin talked about a project in development: “Our users are getting older and our products don’t have as much reach into the younger generation, and we would like to reach them on mobile devices,” Craig Silverman reports he said. (API) | #TBT: Jeff Sonderman on lessons from The Daily’s demise (Poynter)
  4. David Frum apologizes: Images from Gaza he questioned “do appear authentic, and I should not have cast doubt on them.” (The Atlantic) | “Atlantic spokesperson Anna Bross says Frum isn’t facing any repercussions from the company.” (Poynter) | “Frum showed how utterly inclined he is to believe and recirculate a claim of Palestinian photo fakery. Journalists guard against their biases by checking their reporting before publishing it.” (The Washington Post)
  5. Is Vocativ for real? The company, which says it plumbs the “deep web” for stories, has a deal to provide video to MSNBC and is about to announce a series on Showtime. But many who’ve used its vaunted software, Johana Bhuiyan reports, describe “a milieu in which they and other employees continually misled the company’s leadership about the usefulness of the software in their reporting, writing and video work.” Also worth noting: One exec tells Bhuiyan the company paid George Takei “under-the-counter” to tweet stories. (Capital) | #TBT: This is Bhuiyan’s last story for Capital; she’s moving over to BuzzFeed. Earlier this month, she gave advice to media reporters: “Turn your computer off once in a while.” (Poynter)
  6. Where did Plain Dealer journalists land? A year ago today, the paper cut about a third of its newsroom. Where are they now? There “aren’t a lot of of jobs that are cooler than being a reporter,” John Horton, who now works in media relations at Cuyahoga Community College, said. “I mean, that’s what Superman was.” (Poynter)
  7. Why Twitter’s diversity statistics matter: The company is 70 percent male and 59 percent white. That’s “a problem because white men unconsciously build products for white men – products that subtly discourage anyone else from using them,” Jess Zimmerman writes. (The Guardian) | Related: How would Twitter users react if it offered a moderated, Facebook-style feed? (Gigaom)
  8. Thomson Reuters releases second-quarter results: Revenue at the news division was down 1 percent from the same period last year. (Thomson Reuters) | The company’s cost-cutting program helped swing it to a profit, even as net income “was little changed.” (Bloomberg News)
  9. Here is a picture of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the Washington Post newsroom: “Very, very cool moment.” (‏@JoshWhiteTWP) | Related: Jeremy Barr asks Post Executive Editor Marty Baron whether “that traditional path” to the Post, through small papers, is still the way in. Baron: “I would say that that model passed a long time ago.” (Capital)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Margery Eagan will be a spirituality columnist for Crux, The Boston Globe’s Catholicism vertical. Previously, she was a columnist for The Boston Herald. Lauren Shea is now a project director at The Boston Globe. Formerly, she was a senior digital producer at Arnold Worldwide. Corey Gottlieb and Angus Durocher will be executive directors of digital strategy and operations for and The Globe’s online marketplace. Formerly, Gottlieb was a senior manager of product development at Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Durocher was a lead engineer at YouTube. Adam Vaccaro, formerly a writer at Inc. Magazine, has joined The Globe as a staff writer, along with Sara Morrison and Eric Levenson, both from The Atlantic Wire. Laura Amico, the creator of Homicide Watch, has also joined The Globe as news editor in charge of multimedia and data projects. ( | Lindsay Zoladz will be pop music critic for New York magazine. She’s currently an associate editor at Pitchfork. (@lindsayzoladz) | Eva Rodriguez will be a senior editor at Politico Magazine. Formerly, she was an editorial writer at The Washington Post. (@DylanByers) | Job of the day: Oregon Public Broadcasting is looking for an assignment editor! Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more

Scripps logo

Poynter, Scripps announce tailored training partnership

The Poynter Institute and the E.W. Scripps Co. today announced a long-term agreement that will provide customized training for staff members in the Scripps newspaper division.

“As a longtime participant in Poynter programs, I can say with confidence that its team represents the gold standard in providing continuing education for journalists,” said Mizell Stewart III, vice president/content for the Scripps newspaper division. “Investment in learning and staff development are critical as our newsrooms transform into multi-platform local news organizations. Scripps is pleased to expand its relationship with Poynter as a key partner in building our capacity to provide readers with quality local storytelling on smartphone, tablet, web and print platforms.”

The Scripps training will include in-person workshops, online seminars and webinars led by Poynter’s faculty and industry experts. Employees can earn certificates in programs targeting specific gaps in skills.

“The E.W. Scripps Co. is one of the most respected brands in American journalism, and it has been for more than a century. So we’re honored that Scripps has entrusted The Poynter Institute with helping its journalists learn and thrive in this era of digital journalism,” said Tim Franklin, Poynter president. “I applaud Scripps for making a significant investment in its people and its future through this training partnership with Poynter.”

Poynter will create a Scripps-branded area on News University, the institute’s e-learning site. Many of the Scripps e-learning programs will be hosted on NewsU and its technology will be available to assess the value of the training.

“The media industry is being transformed before our eyes, and training for journalists has never been more important than it is today,” said Franklin. “Scripps recognizes that, and we worked with the company to tailor a training program that meets its strategic goals. This represents yet another example of how Poynter can help media companies and their journalists succeed through efficient and cost-effective training programs.”

In February, Poynter and the McClatchy Co. announced an expansion of a custom training program begun last year. The expanded training includes classes for McClatchy employees in video, database reporting and other aspects of digital publishing. Read more

Finance and markets headline

For newspaper stocks, 2013 was a surprisingly good year

Despite yet another year of falling revenues, publicly traded newspaper companies saw their share prices rise sharply during 2013.

Yes, the overall market was strong — with the S&P index up 29.5 percent and the Dow Jones up 26.5 percent.

Yes, as I and others have noted, local broadcasting is thriving with two of the next three years bringing political and Olympics advertising bonanzas and retransmission fees a continuing windfall. Gannett, E.W. Scripps and Journal Communications all benefited from their TV holdings. Read more


Scripps plans $35M purchase of digital news service Newsy

Scripps | Tech Crunch

E.W. Scripps Co. today announced it plans to buy Newsy, a Columbia, Mo.-based video news service that started five years ago. The $35 million sale is scheduled to close Jan. 1.

Rich Boehne, Scripps chairman, president and CEO, said in a company press release that Newsy’s operations were built for a digital audience, which dovetails with Scripps’ own plans:

“This acquisition fits our digital strategy to run a national news brand that both enhances our local content offerings and gives us more access to the fast-growing digital news audiences and revenues on national platforms,” Boehne said.

Read more

Cincinnati TV station plans paywall on its website


WCPO will introduce a paywall for much of its website content early next year, NetNewsCheck reports.

Over the past year, the ABC affiliate’s site has added more than 30 editorial staffers to its digital reporting team, including eight veteran reporters covering local crime and justice, politics, business, education and the arts.

Paywalls are increasingly common for newspaper sites — 41 percent of U.S. dailies will have them after Digital First Media puts its paywalls in place, Ken Doctor wrote recently — but they’re an elusive species among TV stations, which could arguably benefit from competitors putting their content behind a gate.

The Cincinnati Enquirer, like all Gannett-owned papers, has a metered paywall. The E.W. Scripps Co., which owns WCPO, announced at the end of 2012 it would install paywalls for all of its newspaper sites.

You can see the stories WCPO considers premium content on its site now: They’re marked with a “9″ logo. Read more


TV stations strong, newspapers weak in Scripps’ 2012 results

The E.W. Scripps Company
Political advertising revenue at Scripps’ television stations in the fourth quarter of 2012 was “higher than the full-year political total reported in any previous year,” the company said in an earnings report Tuesday. Local and national advertising revenue was up as well; local advertising brought in nearly as much as political ads did. All that cash led to a dramatic gain in segment profit for Scripps’ stations in the fourth quarter: “$65.3 million, compared with $23.2 million in the year-ago period,” the release said.

At Scripps’ newspapers, which include The Commercial Appeal and the Knoxville News Sentinel, circulation and print-ad revenue were down, and digital revenue scratched a small gain. Read more

Money wall

The tale of 3 paywalls: E.W. Scripps goes all in, Gannett brags, Washington Post thaws

Newspapers are on the fringe of this year’s annual UBS investors media conference in New York. Still, the meeting has provided a window on growing momentum in the industry for paid digital subscription plans.

E.W. Scripps is late to the paywall party,  announcing just two week ago that after a beta test this year in Memphis, it will roll out paid digital in its 13 other newspaper markets in 2013.

CEO Rich Boehne told me that he has become such a believer that he wants to introduce a version of paid digital content at Scripps’ dozen-plus local television stations as well.  He is not sure of the format yet, but said “we want to give it a try.” That will put Scripps among the first to experiment with paid digital on a broadcast news site.

In his presentation Tuesday, Boehne amplified that he expects the next 12 to 18 months will see most high quality local digital news moving to paid. He is willing to invest from a TV base to compete with local newspapers in that emerging market.

“It’s an opportunity too good to miss,” he said. And within a few years, Boehne predicted, the range of bundle options “will resemble cable tiers.”

The company’s first tests have been with paid apps — for instance one at its Cleveland station that tracks weather at a download cost of $4.99.

At The Washington Post

Earlier in the conference, Washington Post Co. CEO Don Graham opened the door a crack to the possibility of a paywall at the Post. “We will continue to study it and see if we can find [a digital pay structure] that fits.”

But Graham reiterated a statement from earlier this year on why The New York Times’ “very intelligently designed,” successful digital pay plan is not a smooth fit for the Post.

The Times can deliver a printed paper anywhere in the country, Graham said, and print-digital bundles are critical to the plan’s success. The print Post is available only in the D.C., Metro area, so that path is not open.

Graham added that he is concerned that a quality metro like the Boston Globe has drawn only 25,000 subscriptions to its premium digital service in a year.

Also, the Post site draws 90 percent of its audience from outside the D.C., metro area, he said, “and generates a significant amount of digital ads” that he is reluctant to jeopardize.

At Gannett

Gannett is further along in introducing digital pay to its newspapers — 78 of its 80 community newspapers now offer versions of what the company calls a “full-access subscription model.” (USA Today remains free).

The results have been good enough that Gannett led with them in its presentation Wednesday to investors:

  • Along with print subscription price increases, the digital pay initiative has led to 21 percent year-to-year circulation revenue increases as it is phased in.
  • The company has made $20 million in new digital subscription revenue this year and expects to increase that by $80 million in 2013.
  • In four test markets, Gannett research found that 52 percent of customers were accessing news on two or more platforms.
  • Uniques are actually up 4 percent with the new plan, though page views are down by an unspecified amount.

So far, said Bob Dickey, head of community publishing, digital-only subscribers number just 40,000, compared to 925,000 taking a print-digital combination. But he said that he expects to market digital-only more aggressively in 2013 and grow that number five to seven times.

Predictably, most of the digital-only subscribers are new customers, he said, and they skew younger demographically than traditional newspaper readers.

The biggest challenge for the new year will be retention. Many of the subscribers are coming off three-month introductory offers, Dickey said, and the pay plans are so new that none have been through an annual renewal cycle yet.

Gannett, like other companies going to digital pay plans, pushes so-called EZ-Pay, in which renewal is automatic unless the customer opts out.

Advertising forecasts

The UBS conference began with a series of advertising forecasts, and there the news was less positive. The consensus was that 2013 will see slightly less total advertising growth than in 2012, and that newspapers will again record declines.

Though digital advertising growth has resumed, banner display revenue, crucial to newspaper organizations, was flat in 2012 and will be again in 2013 with some increase in volume offset by falling rates.

As I noted in an earlier post, the New York Times Co. opted not to participate in the conference this year because CEO Mark Thompson is so new to the job. McClatchy cancelled at the last minute because it has a debt refinancing in the market and cannot tout its business prospects under securities law.

Despite the certainty of further print declines, I think that the digital subs and other business initiatives like digital marketing services to local businesses have the near future for newspaper organizations looking at least a little brighter than it did a year ago.

The market seems to agree. Share prices of the publicly traded companies are even or up slightly over the course of 2012, and papers put up for sale are finding buyers.

The Post’s Graham said, “Anybody who really focuses on the newspaper business should be focused on Berkshire Hathaway.” Not only has revered investor Warren Buffett bought more than 60 newspapers (and closed one) this year, Graham said, “he is waving his arms and saying we are not done.”

Related: Don’t believe anyone who tells you paywalls are a settled matter (Steve Buttry) | Why does the paywall debate always have to become a religious war? (Mathew Ingram/GigaOm) Read more


Revenue way up at Scripps’ TV stations, down at its newspapers

The E.W. Scripps Company
Political advertising partly accounted for a 52 percent gain in television revenue in the second quarter compared to the year before, the E.W. Scripps Company announced in its earnings report Tuesday. Revenues at Scripps’ newspapers were down 4.7 percent over the second quarter of 2011. Expenses, including the cost of acquiring McGraw-Hill’s television stations at the end of 2011, were up 8.1 percent.

At the company’s newspapers, no revenue segment posted a gain. Circulation revenue declined 3.7 percent, print advertising was down 7.2 percent and digital revenue was down 3.3 percent. Scripps attributed the latter to “softness in employment advertising and a deliberate decision to eliminate the sale of certain low-margin digital products,” and noted mobile page views were up 8 percent. (Though, as my coworker Rick Edmonds has written, monetizing mobile traffic remains a challenge for publishers.)

Scripps has $167 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $204 million in debt. Interest payments were about $3.2 million. The company says it expects to reduce newspaper costs “in the low- to mid-single digits” over the next half of 2012 and expects newspaper revenues to decline by a similar percentage.

Related: What Wall Street Journal, Murdoch papers can learn from Scripps, Belo splits Read more


E.W. Scripps doubles down on broadcasting by buying McGraw-Hill TV stations

TV NewsCheck
E.W. Scripps’ $212 million purchase of nine McGraw-Hill’s TV stations brings Scripps’ broadcast reach to 13 percent of TV homes in U.S., TV NewsCheck reports. Scripps CEO Rich Boehne said the company decided to invest in broadcast because “it is a strong local media model that benefits from the larger TV eco-system around it. … With a license, a share of valuable spectrum, required carriage on cable systems and long-term programming partnerships, broadcast stations are good businesses today with attractive options for creating more value in the future.” The addition of the McGraw-Hill stations adds more ABC affiliates to Scripps’ roster and gives the company an entry point into the Spanish-language marketplace. The first order of business: improving the ratings of McGraw-Hill newscasts. “That’s the biggest upside to drive revenue through the organization,” said Brian Lawlor, senior vice president of television for Scripps. || Related: Wells Fargo analyst says price is a positive sign for TV industry (TV NewsCheck) | Media General’s stock price falls after Moody’s downgrades rating (Reuters) Read more