US media company EW Scripps Co. reported a surprise quarterly net profit on Monday, despite a 29 percent decline in advertising revenue, sending its shares sharply higher on Wall Street.
Scripps posted a net profit of 2.3 million dollars in the second quarter compared with a net loss of 531.2 million dollars a year ago on write-downs in the value of its newspaper operations and other businesses.
Scripps, which owns 10 television stations and newspapers in 14 US markets, said revenue declined by 23 percent to 194 million dollars in the quarter which ended on June 30.
The surprise net profit at the Cincinnati, Ohio-based media company sent its share price soaring. Scripps shares were trading at 7.15 dollars at mid-day in New York, up 30.95 percent from the opening bell.
"Scripps has been able to protect its financial health and look ahead with optimism despite an economic crisis that has throttled the flow of marketing dollars across this country," president and chief executive Rich Boehne said.
"In the near term, we are seeing some slight improvement in the flow of advertising in our markets, particularly at the television stations," he said in a statement.
Boehne added that the company would be shifting resources "to those areas that have the best long-term return -- news and information content and the development of new revenue streams."
Scripps said revenue from its television stations fell 24 percent to 61.1 million dollars in the quarter.
Newspaper revenue fell 22 percent to 113 million dollars while advertising revenue declined 29 percent to 79.4 million dollars. Online advertising revenue dropped by 25 percent to 7.3 million dollars.
Scripps said its second quarter results included 900,000 dollars in final costs related to the closure of the Rocky Mountain News, the Denver, Colorado, newspaper shuttered in February.
Like other US newspapers, the Scripps chain has been grappling with falling print advertising revenue, declining circulation and free news online.
Among the newspapers owned by Scripps are The Commercial Appeal and Knoxville News Sentinel of Tennessee and the Naples Daily News of Florida.
(c) 2009 AFP
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