E. W. Scripps Co (NYSE:SSP) continues to streamline operations. The Cincinnati-based TV, radio, and digital media company is putting 34 radio stations up for sale, laying off staff, and restructuring its operations. The Scripps layoffs and other cost-cutting measures are expected to save it more than $30 million annually.
“Today, Scripps is a dynamic leader in the media industry through its strong local TV station portfolio, its growing multicast network, its national news network and its podcasting business,” said Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson. “The enterprise-wide restructuring positions us well for continued growth while maintaining high-quality journalism as our central focus.”
Scripps will use some of the proceeds to acquire TV stations, adding to its portfolio of 33 stations across the U.S. The company will also invest some of the cost savings into its national digital media businesses, including Newsy and Midroll.
During the third quarter of 2017, Scripps began its restructuring efforts, having so far laid off 49 employees, including 30 at its headquarters in downtown Cincinnati. The other 19 job cuts came from its online humor magazine-turned-web site, Cracked.com.
Because of those cuts, Scripps took a third-quarter restructuring charge of $2.4 million and fourth-quarter charge of $2.0 million.
Scripps will lay off an additional 50 employees this year at its TV stations. Most of those cuts will take place in the first quarter. To cover those costs, Scripps expects to incur a $4.0-million restructuring charge in the first quarter of 2018 and to take smaller quarterly charges into 2019.
“This plan is consistent with our goal to create both short-term and long-term value by improving margins and cash flow in our local media business and supporting the growth of our national businesses,” Symson explained.
In November, Scripps announced that third-quarter had revenue slipped 7.3% year-over-year to $216.0 million. Revenue from the company’s television group was down nine percent at $180.0 million, while radio revenue was down more than seven percent at $17.9 million. Digital revenue was the lone bright spot, up 13.3% year-over-year at $17.8 million.
The company swung to a third-quarter net loss of $26.7 million, or $0.32 per share. In the prior-year quarter, net income was $12.5 million, or $0.15 per share.
“Scripps Restructures To Create Stronger Company, Puts Radio Stations Up For Sale,” E. W. Scripps Co, January 25, 2018.
“Scripps cuts dozens of Cincinnati jobs, selling radio stations,” Cincinnati Business Courier, January 26, 2018.
“Scripps Reports Third-Quarter 2017 Results,” E. W. Scripps Co, November 3, 2017.