E.W. Scripps Narrows 1Q Loss

E.W. Scripps (NYSE:SSP) narrowed its first-quarter loss amid lower expenses, although the newspaper and television company saw advertising sales slip.

The company reported a $2.7 million loss, or 5 cents a share, versus a $4.4 million loss, or 8 cents a share, in the year-ago period that included a $5.7 million write-down.

Revenue dropped 4.1% to $198.7 million, missing estimates of $203 million. Operating expenses declined 4.2%.

The media company, which owns local newspapers and television stations, has cut back on expenses amid an industry-wide decline in print advertising. E.W. Scripps is also planning to bolster its digital offerings.

The newspaper segment recorded first-quarter revenue of $99.5 million, a 4.7% decline, as advertising and marketing revenue fell 5.1%. Circulation revenue narrowed 3.6%.

“In newspaper markets, we have begun converting audiences to bundled subscriptions for news products that demonstrate the value of the services we provide on smartphones, tablets, desktops and laptops, in addition to the printed page. The early results are encouraging, and we anticipate converting 11 of our 13 newspaper markets this quarter,” Chairman and CEO Rich Boehne said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a year-ago comparison that included stronger political advertising weighed on the latest period’s television performance. The segment’s revenue fell 2.7% to $96.9 million.

Control of E.W. Scripps and Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE:SNI) passed to descendants after the final surviving grandchild of Edward W. Scripps died late last year.

Shares of E.W. Scripps closed Friday at $14.42. The stock is up 33.4% on the year.