The E. W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP) Q3 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Nov 03, 2017 • 09:00 am ET


The E. W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP) Q3 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Ladies and gentlemen thank you for standing by. And welcome to the Scripps' Third Quarter Earnings Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session. Instructions will be given at that time. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

Your host and speaker, Head of IR for Scripps, Carolyn Micheli. Please go ahead.

Carolyn Micheli

Thanks Kevin. Good morning everyone. Thanks for joining us for a discussion of The E.W. Scripps Company's Third Quarter 2017 results.

(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements)

We'll hear first this morning from Scripps' President and CEO, Adam Symson; then Interim CFO, Lisa Knutson; and Local Media President, Brian Lawlor. Also in the room are Radio Division Head, Steve Wexler; and Controller and Treasurer, Doug Lyons.

Now, here's Adam.

Adam Symson

Good morning everybody. This morning we're reporting financial results that mostly met our expectations. We do have some noise in the numbers, however. Thanks for joining us as we parse through them with you and explain this short-term issues and the positive longer term outlook.

In a moment, I'll talk you through the factors affecting our Digital division and then discuss the company -- the start of a company-wide comprehensive restructuring effort that ultimately will best align our company costs with our business goals.

This is consistent with what we shared with you back at our most recent Investor's Day, our commitment to put equal energy and focus on short-term results, while creating long-term shareholder value.

Let's start this morning with broadcast television where we realized the expected upturn in core advertising once you factor out the incremental upside from last summer's Olympics. Brian will give you more color in a few moments. So, I'll just say we were pleased with the health of the quarter and especially, the growth in our key categories in September giving us good momentum going into fourth quarter.

Local media is the anchor of our company. Every day across this country, we serve large and engaged local audiences on multiple platforms with the news and information they need to make decisions for their lives. And it is our advertising solutions that power the local economy.

Based on the evolving FCC ownership regulations, we're looking forward to the opportunity to refine our TV portfolio through our M&A strategy. We believe this opportunity to improve the profitability of the local media business will be good for Scripps and allow us to continue investment in the journalism that defines our stations.

Turning to our Digital businesses. We saw a third quarter slowdown in national advertising that impacted all three of our national content businesses, Newsy, Midroll, and Cracked. The dynamics for all three are very different however.

Midroll saw strong ad inventory growth in the third quarter as the company continues to lead the fast-developing podcasting marketplace. Midroll added some very significant shows to the portfolio including the hit podcast; My Favorite Murderer; and we launched our own Docu series on the cult responsible for America's largest