Strong ad growth fuels Scripps earnings

Shopzilla, on the market, ads to firm's coffers

Solid advertising growth at cable nets like the Food Network, HGTV and the Travel Channel continued to fuel the financials at Scripps Networks Interactive in the first quarter.

The company said Thursday that revenues grew 14% to $536 million while net profits rose 38% to $100 million.

”Our strong advertising growth in the first quarter reflects the popularity of our networks and their tremendous value as marketing platforms for advertisers and distribution partners,” said Scripps CEO Ken Lowe.

Even the company’s shopping site Shopzilla did Scripps a favor as it prepares to be sold. The division housing Shopzilla saw revenues grow 47% in the period to $55 million. Scripps announced last week it was selling Shopzilla to private equity firm Symphony Technology Group for $165 million. The deal is expected to close at the end of May. Scripps bought the site in 2005 for $525 million.

Ad revenues at the company grew 12% to $324 million while affiliate revenues were up 6% to $145 million.

In the division housing its cable nets, revenues grew 11% to $474 million. Among the highlights was that the DIY Network added 600,000 homes vs. a year ago and now reaches 54 million households.