Scripps profit climbs 20%

Muscular advertising, affiliate fee growth powers results

Scripps Network Interactive, parent of Food and Travel channels and the target of heated takeover speculation in recent weeks, saw profit jump 20% on muscular advertising and affiliate fee growth.

Net profit rose to $157 million from $130 million on revenue of $566 million, up 12%. The company has long been a considered a plum acquisition, and deal rumors exploded on possible changes in the family trust that has tightly controlled it. Big media companies led by Disney, Comcast and Time Warner are potential buyers, although the Mouse may have its plate full now with the $4 billion Lucasfilm deal. Upbeat numbers for SNI — in what was a tough quarter for many networks given competish from the Summer Olympics — won’t hurt the process.

Ad revenue of $377 million was up 10%. Affiliate fees of $175 million grew 18%.

“Our positive third-quarter results demonstrate in a powerful way the ubiquitous nature of our popular lifestyle brands,” said chairman-CEO Kenneth Lowe.

Expenses rose 11% to $315 million on domestic and international growth and higher promotion and marketing.

Food Network revenue rose 11% to $199 million, HGTV grew 8.1% to $195 million, and Travel Channel rose 10% to $69 million. DIY, Cooking Channel and Great American Country were up 26%, 31% and 15%, respectively.

Digital revenue rose 12% to $28 million.