Scripps Plans Aggressive Local Push for 2011

By Andrew Gauthier 

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TVSpy

E.W. Scripps announced this week that it expects TV ad revenue to rise steadily in 2011 and Rich Boehne, the company’s CEO and president, underscored this positive prediction with some hubris at the UBS Media and Communications Conference in New York on Wednesday.

“We’ll make a lot more money,” Boehne predicted, speaking about his plan to increase local programming at Scripps’ ten stations. He said that the company plans to use the space vacated by “Oprah,” as well as slots previously filled by “Wheel of Fortune” and Jeopardy!,” to run local programming and therefore increase profits.

Without the expense of syndicated shows like “Oprah,” Scripps will be able to capitalize on the rising ad revenue that it’s foreseeing. The company predicts that ad revenue will rise in the in the low- to mid-single-digit range during the first half of 2011 and that key advertising categories are returning to 2008 levels.

Boehne hopes that rising ad revenue paired with inexpensive local programming will lead to financial improvement for the company and its stations. He also said that he’d be happy to apply this formula to other companys’ stations as well. Speaking about Scripps’ new pact with Raycom, in which Scripps’ WPTV will handle news operations for West Palm Beach rival WFLX, Boehne said, “We would like to do that in some other markets.”

“If you know folks in those markets who you think should not be in the news business and you’d like us to take over their stations for them, just give us a call.”

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