EW Scripps (SSP) stock leaves print media rivals in the dust – here’s why


Corrects throughout the distinction between EW Scripps, a former television company, and Journal Media Group, a former newspaper operator.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) – The EW Scripps Company (SSP) – Get EW Scripps Company Class A Report, like its flagship logo, has become a beacon for traditional TV and radio station owners looking for a remake in the digital age.

The Cincinnati, Ohio-based company gained favor with investors as it sought to strengthen its digital operations, and did so again on Thursday, acquiring podcast company Midroll Media. The strategy has largely worked as shares of EW Scripps – unlike its rivals – have climbed 20% in the past 12 months.

“They have a reputation for being innovative, for trying new things,” Rick Edmonds, media analyst at the Poynter Institute, said in a telephone interview. “Their [television] the business is so profitable it is always good to have more. “

Midroll Media is a podcast network and advertising company that features shows such as The blacklist, Table readings and Bang Bang Comedy. In addition to creating and producing shows, Midroll launched an in-house podcast advertising agency.

Midroll Media, which gets its name from the way a podcast host reads ad scripts in the middle of his shows, currently sells ads for over 200 podcasts, including more well-known names like WTF with Marc Maron and Le Nerdiste. The acquisition will be included in Scripps’ digital unit with the site Lots of news and the app WeatherSphere.

“We see the Midroll acquisition here as very consistent with the history of the company,” said Adam Simpson, senior vice president of digital strategy at EW Scripps in a podcast produced by Midroll. “We came out of [the first meeting] thinking ‘Wow, these guys have a great deal.’ “

The move is not unusual for EW Scripps, which retained the media company’s stakes in television, radio and newspapers in 2008 after establishing Interactive network scripts (SNI) as a spin-off to host its fast growing cable TV channels run by Food Network, HGTV and DIY Network. EW Scripps then split its newspaper holdings in April, merge these assets with Journal Communications, based in Milwaukee, to form a new company called Media Journal (JMG) .

EW Scripps performed better than its counterparts at TV channels such as Sinclair Broadcast (SBGI) – Get the Class A report from Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., which has lost 17% in the past year, Media Tribune (TRCO) – Get the Class A report from Tribune Media Co., which fell by 39% and General Media (MEG) , which fell 25%.

While digital-only accounts for just 4% of Scripps revenue, the new podcast acquisition is seen by the company as an investment in a faster growing business.

“Podcasting has emerged from the relentless evolution of the media market as one of the best new platforms for creating organically growing audiences and revenue streams,” said Rich Boehne, CEO of Scripps. “In the Midroll team and shows, we found creative content and business strategies that have already helped define the importance of podcasting, and with strong growth yet to come.”

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