Blog Post

Affiliate Fees Lift Scripps Networks’ Profits, Revs As Online Still Suffers

During the CBS (NYSE: CBS) earnings call yesterday, Les Moonves, the company’s president and CEO, repeatedly spoke about how broadcasters coveted the retrans and affiliate fees that those on the cable side have been able to tap. Scripps Networks (NYSE: SNI) Interactive’s Q1 results prove how valuable affiliate revenues can be, as Ken Lowe, the lifetstyle cable net’s chairman, president and CEO, cited the double-digit increase in affiliate revenues as helping propel strong revenue and profit gains. Nevertheless, the online services unit continued to suffer, despite the tentative recovery.

On the downside, however, Interactive Services revenue fell 16.6 percent to $37.6 million as comparison shopping engine Shopzilla continued to struggle. Observers have long thought that Scripps would sell it off. But considering that Scripps only got $10 million for last year’s sale of its other shopping site, uSwitch, after buying it for $366 million three years earlier, it’s understandable that the company might be a little reluctant.

Things look much more healthy at Scripps’ Lifestyle Media business unit, which includes HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel. That segment’s revenue grew 32 percent to $469 million from the same period in ’09. Not counting the Travel Channel, which Scripps bought in December, the company