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Scripps profit grows 20%

Food Network and Travel Channel parent Scripps Networks Interactive posted a 20% increase in profits during the third quarter as its advertising revenues continue to grow, with five of its channels boasting double-digit gains.

Scripps net profit for the quarter was US$157m, up from US$130m for the same period last year. Revenue climbed 12% to US$566m.

Ad revenue grew 10% to US$377m, especially impressive given that Scripps’ cable channels were competing against network broadcasts of the Olympic Games. Affiliate fees grew 18% to US$175m.

There was revenue growth across all of its cable channels in the US with Food Network revenue up 11% to US$199m, HGTV 8.1% to US$195m and Travel Channel rising 10% to $69m. The firm added the overseas Travel Channel business to its portfolio earlier this year.

The biggest percentage gains were seen at DIY Network, where revenue climbed 26% year on year to US$29.9m, and Cooking Channel which grew 31% to US$21.6m. Great American Country reversed a 15% fall in revenue posted in the second quarter by recording a 15% rise this time to US$6.9m.

Scripps – also a 50% shareholder in the UKTV channels business – is seen as an attractive proposition for a takeover in the US. The group was controlled by the Scripps family trust, which held a 98.5% stake, until last month when 94-year-old Robert Scripps, the last direct descendent of the company’s founder, passed away, bringing the trust to an end.

New family shareholders will vote as a block as part of the Scripps Family Agreement. Analysts believe this makes the company ripe for a takeover. Its share price climbed another 3% yesterday upon announcement of the Q3 results and has grown by almost 50% since the start of the year.

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