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Scripps Networks CEO Upbeat About Programming And Economy

By | Wednesday September 25, 2013 @ 7:52am PDT

Add Scripps Networks CEO Ken Lowe to the parade of programming execs who are telling investors that the pay TV bundle will stay intact, no matter what consumers want. “We are not going to go to an a la carte business,” he said this morning at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference. Bundled channels offer “a great consumer proposition.” He also doesn’t think that Sen. John McCain will “gain any traction” with his bill that would promote consumer choice. Even so, the head of the lifestyle channel company says Scripps’ relatively small size isn’t a liability when he negotiates payment deals with cable and satellite distributors. “It’s more about quality over quantity. Our six networks historically do more domestic advertising than peer groups that have twice the number…. Distribution partners are going to look more and more at what each network brings to the table.” He’s upbeat about HGTV as the economy improves. “People are feeling a bit better about their homes” which makes them “more willing to watch [shows about] home improvement projects.” His show Love It Or List It “is doing a great job.” There was no mention of the axing of celebrity chef Paula Deen in the discussion about Food Network’s recent ratings slide. But Lowe says that the programming for the fall is “impressive” and promised that “we’ll see some improvement.” The company is still Read More »

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Scripps Networks’ Ken Lowe Made $14.2M In 2012, +46.7%

By | Monday April 8, 2013 @ 7:24am PDT

The company CEO, chairman and president benefited from new contract terms including special retention stock grants recognizing “the critical nature of [his] talent” in a year when Scripps Networks shares appreciated 33.5%. Ken Lowe‘s package included $1.3M salary, $7.4M in stock awards, $1.4M in option awards, $1.7M in non-equity incentives, $2M change in pension value, and $441,155 in other compensation according to the proxy filed at the SEC this morning. The “other” category includes $16,080 for dining, business, and country clubs. Lowe’s package is 3.1 times higher than the median for the four other highest-paid execs. That’s better than last year, when he made 3.5 times the median. But it’s still high enough to worry corporate governance watchdogs who say that a CEO’s pay can be considered out of whack when it’s at least 3 times higher than the average for his or her top colleagues. Read More »

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Scripps Networks’ HGTV And Food Network Contribute To Solid 2Q Results

Scripps Networks stayed on course in 2Q, which is a contrast to other cable channel owners that ended the period with mixed messages. The company generated $77.4M in net income, a drop of 27% from the period last year, which was muddied by changes related to Scripps’ acquisition of the Travel Channel and recent sale of Shopzilla, an online comparative shopping site. On an apples-to-apples basis, profits would be up 19% in the quarter, the company says. Revenues were up 12% to $534M. The earnings from continuing operations, at 78 cents a share, beat the 72 cents that analysts expected, while the revenues were on target. Scripps says that it saw improvement at all of its channels except Great American Country, where revenues fell 31% to $5.9M. With increased ad sales and fees from pay TV companies, Food Network revenues were up 8.2% to $187M, HGTV increased 8.9% to $189M, and Travel was up 15% to $70.3M. “Put it all together, and the company succeeded in delivering solid doubt-digit growth in revenue and segment profit during the second quarter and is on track for another outstanding year,” CEO Ken Lowe says.

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Cable Show: Big Media Gets The Last Word

The message for the television industry at this year’s National Cable Show was clear: It’s all about broadband now. Programmers agreed that they have to focus on consumers who want to watch video on their smartphones and tablet computers. Meanwhile, cable operators know that they can make a lot of cash by enticing new customers to buy broadband now that the TV service business is mature. The big question is whether the Big Media companies can move fast enough to head off competitors such as Apple, Google, and Netflix. But we’ll let the moguls have the last word:

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman

  • “For the content owners there’s never been a better time.”
  • “Netflix is primarily a service that provides library programming. … Netflix got involved in one show (House Of Cards) that was a pay television kind of project, but that isn’t their fundamental business.”
  • “If we are ad supported, (then) we need to have a measurement system in place so the mobile device in the home can sell ads. … (Nielsen) is not measuring it now. That’s one of the obstacles [for TV Everywhere].”
  • “Consumers are changing. … People don’t want to watch the 17th repeat of the same show.”
  • “In a world of a lot of choices, Snookie still rules.”

News Corp COO Chase Carey

  • “We have to do a better job of exciting consumers.”

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes

  • “Let’s all cheer up. This isn’t the music industry. It’s the cable industry. … It’s morning in the cable industry.”
  • “We’re all sitting here at this convention at the cusp of putting all of [our programming] on demand. … We need to get [shows] on every device.”
  • “Put the TV on all the Internet devices and don’t charge people to do it and allow them to [access] they way they’re accustomed to.”

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts

  • “We are demonsrating a whole new level of (Internet) speed. … It’s where the future of broadband is headed.”
  • “We need to make the television feel as relevant as all of these other products [such as smartphones and iPad tablet computers].”

Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt

  • “There’s no such thing as a TV anymore. There’s a video display device.”
  • “I see Netflix as another programmer. But clearly if there is something that makes consumers not want to buy the big package (of programming) that we’re selling then that’s a threat to all of us.”
  • “There clearly is a growing underclass of consumers that can’t afford [cable TV] and they want it. It would behoove all of us to have smaller packages… The economics make it difficult, but it would serve us well to worry about that group.”

Cox Communications President Pat Esser

  • “You have to keep going back to the consumer and asking what they value. … Consumers wil reward you for doing that. And in some cases you won’t control all of it.”

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