Scripps Networks Interactive strong growth in advertising- turns to Profit

Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. [[SNI]] said Wednesday that fourth-quarter earnings were $94.4 million, or 57 cents a share. In the same period last year, Scripps lost $154 million, or 94 cents a share. Operating revenue grew 6% to $430 million from $405 million.

Consolidated revenue for the quarter increased 6.0% to $429.74 million from $405.34 million in the the prior-year period. Ten analysts had consensus revenue estimate of $410.56 million for the quarter.

Consolidated expenses for the quarter increased 25 percent from the prior-year period to $278 million. The increase in expenses included:

— A $21.1 million write-down of the value of Fine Living Network programming. The write-down was the result of a programming evaluation undertaken as part of the company’s plan to rebrand Fine Living as the Cooking Channel.

— $13.6 million related to the Travel Channel acquisition and international investments.

— $4.4 million in marketing and legal expenses to support the company’s affiliate agreement renewals.

Excluding these items, consolidated expenses were up 7.0 percent year-over-year.

Fourth quarter net income attributable to Scripps Networks Interactive was $94.4 million, or 57 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $154 million in the fourth quarter 2008. The net loss in the prior-year period included a write-down in the value of goodwill at the company’s Shopzilla comparison shopping subsidiary.

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