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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oho Media Giant Scripps: Stop The Presses!!! News Biz Being Spun Off

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- An Ohio media giant that built a publishing and broadcasting realm by starting with newspapers, and then local TV outlets like Channel 5 in Cleveland, plans to divide itself into two separate entities. The split sets the old media properties on an independent road during an uncertain time. Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Co. made the announcement this morning. It means the company's leadership sees more upside growth potential in the $1.4 billion Scripps Networks, which include HGTV, Food Network and Internet-businesses like Shopzilla.

Scripps owns newspapers across the nation, including Denver and Cincinnati, where the afternoon Cincinnati Post has been in decline and is set to close forever in December. Meanwhile, Scripps has been building a new headquarters for its Scripps Neworks Interactive operations in Knoxville, Tenn., where HGTV and the other shows are produced. Scripps CEO Kenneth W. Lowe said the split makes good sense for shareholders by sharpening business focus on the new media, which is growing and extremely profitable.

"This is an important and logical next step for our shareholders, employees and all other stakeholders who have a direct interest in the success of our media business, It is our intention to create two publicly traded companies, each with a sharpened strategic focus that would foster continued growth, solid operating performance and a clear vision on how best to build on the specific strengths of our national and local media franchises.

"The new company that would be created by the transaction -- Scripps Networks Interactive -- would be anchored by two of America's most-watched and most successful table television networks -- HGTV and Food Network -- and would benefit from the rapidly growing popularity of its newer lifestyle brands, DIY Network, Fine Living, and Great American Country."

Bottomline: Scripps was the media company whose most beloved and noted journalist was Ernie Pyle, the columnist who covered World War II and became the voice of the common man. He was killed in the Pacific while on assignment with the troops. The new Scripps is built around figures like Emeril, the chef. Good-bye, Ernie. Bam!!!

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