Scripps Networks CEO Touts Record Ratings, Millennial Audiences

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Scripps Networks Interactive CEO Kenneth Lowe

Ken Lowe speaks at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York.

Scripps Networks Interactive has this year been benefiting from an uptick in younger viewers and ratings records at key networks, chairman and CEO Ken Lowe said Tuesday at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York.

The owner of HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel and other networks is having its best-ever year with Millennials, he said, citing strong 25-34 audiences for DIY and the Cooking Channel in particular and an increase in kids viewing the Food Network.

"We have really had a strong year," said Lowe. "Four out of six of our networks have had record years for ratings," including HGTV and DIY.

With home a place of safety, he said Millennials may have different viewing behaviors. But, he added: "When they get to the point where they get their first home, a lot of things change. And all of a sudden, we see, especially in the 25-34 year olds, growth coming now from the home category." For example, the company is having success with shows explaining lower-end fix-up work.

Lowe also lauded the success of family-themed shows. "Some of the shows that are really succeeding now are a little more family-oriented," he said. The CEO touted Fixer Upper on HGTV with Chip and Joanna Gaines as an example.

Lowe praised HGTV, noting the network was No. 1 in adults 25-54 on cable on many nights, and he added that DIY had subscriber growth this year.

The exec on Tuesday also said that the pay TV bundle would be around for a long time, despite the continued cord-cutting debate.

Lowe said that 20 percent of Scripps' revenue now comes from international. Scripps closed its acquisition of a 52.7 percent stake in Polish TV network operator TVN and made a public tender offer to purchase the remaining outstanding shares, which it closed during the third quarter. "Our international business has been bolstered by the successful acquisition of Poland's leading multi-platform media company, TVN," Lowe said at the time.

On Tuesday, he heralded TVN for being dominant in Poland, having a great content and ad sales team and having its own OTT player. Using TVN's facilities also allows for more cost-efficient productions in Europe, according to Lowe. "I am very pleased with where we are right now," he said.

The UBS investor conference features CEOs and other top executives from industry players. It is widely seen as the final event of the year where execs can provide an outlook for the new year and sound off on hot-button issues.