Lifestyle TV Network Owners Scripps, Crown Media Post First-Quarter Revenue Growth

The HGTV and Food Network owner said earnings were hit by program investments, but content costs at the Hallmark Channel parent fell after the end of "The Martha Stewart Show."


Lifestyle TV networks companies Scripps Networks Interactive and Crown Media Holdings on Thursday reported higher first-quarter revenue, but the former saw its bottom line drop amid programming investments.

Scripps, whose cable channels include the likes of HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, posted quarterly earnings of $108 million. That was down slightly from the $115 million recorded in the year-ago period amid a 17 percent increase in expenses driven by program investments. "Also contributing to the [expense] increase were higher employee costs and investments in planned domestic and international growth initiatives," the company said.

Quarterly revenue rose 11 percent to $594 million though. Advertising and affiliate fee revenue also each rose 11 percent.

“Scripps Networks Interactive delivered strong first-quarter results demonstrating the strength of our lifestyle brands as valuable advertising platforms worldwide,” said Scripps chairman and CEO Kenneth Lowe.

He added: "We’ve demonstrated our commitment to investing in our brands by developing compelling content that engages millions of media consumers every day across a full range of media platforms and geographies. This has established Scripps Networks Interactive as a clear leader in influencing consumer purchasing decisions in the home, food and travel categories."

Meanwhile, Crown Media, the company behind the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel, posted first-quarter earnings of $14.5 million, compared with $12.3 million in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 2 percent to $83.8 million, with ad and affiliate fee revenue contributing 2 percent growth each.

While expenses in key areas rose, programming costs fell 7 percent due to the expiration of a number of programming license agreements and the end of a deal to air The Martha Stewart Show. "We believe that programming costs will likely increase in the future," the company said though.

"Crown Media is off to a strong start for 2013 across all areas of the business," said Crown Media Family Networks president and CEO Bill Abbott. "We have redoubled our commitment to establishing Hallmark Channel as an exciting new primetime destination for original scripted series, while substantially expanding Hallmark Movie Channel's programming slate…to parallel its distribution and ratings growth."

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