Scripps Networks Interactive

by Mina Johnson

Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI) is widely known for its developments in television and Internent content that are centered around our daily lifestyles. Scripps Networks Interactive brings to consumer’s homes information related to travel, food, home, and entertainment whenever and wherever it is wanted. SNI provides on-air programs as well as online video sites and social media networking sites. The company’s media components include HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, and the Great American Country Network.

Get To Know Scripps Networks Interactive (video)

To jumpstart the new year, Scripps Networks Interactive acquired RealGravity Inc., a media-based company that focuses on online video publishing techniques [1]. Following this acquisition, SNI’s Food Network reported a record-breaking January. It became the highest rated and most-watched month in network history, increasing their ratings by 40 percent. The first month of 2012 also brought with it 1.4 million P2+ viewers, an increase of 25 percent from last year. Furthermore, according to Nielsen Media Research, Food Network ranked 7th in cable prime ratings among ad-supported networks.[2]

On February 16, 2012, Scripps Networks Interactive announced its board of directors’ decision to increase its quarterly dividend rate by two cents. The 12 cents dividend was made payable on March 9.[3]

At the end of February, Scripps Networks Interactive was engaging in active discussions regarding distributing their content online. Lori Hickok, SNI’s Executive Vice President of Finance, stated that if and when the content goes digital, it will be divided into three categories: authenticated platforms from traditional MSO partners, direct-to-consumer offerings in the lifestyle category, and licensing agreements with the likes of Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Hulu LLC.[4]

For years, SNI has pitched the idea that advertising to its highly engaged, high-income audiences would surely result in sales. Finally, in March of this year, Scripps Networks Interactive stated they have the proof that its network brings in cash.

The data exhibits that the list of networks with viewers in the 25-54-year-old demo with the highest “discretionary spend” on non-essential products and services was headed by three Scripps networks in the top four spots. HGTV landed on top with an average of $16,486 per viewer per year. DIY was third with $14,931 and Food fourth with $14,826. As a group, the Scripps networks averaged a top-ranking $15,079 in discretionary spending per viewer annually. [5]

SNI’s network HGTV announced on March 19 that HGTV Magazine’s [6] June/July issue will officially be on newsstands this May. This home lifestyle publication will be produced with the help of Hearst Magazines. A test issue of the magazine went out in October of 2011, followed by another in January 2012. The magazine generated a rate base of 450,000, one of the largest consumer magazine launches of the past decade.

On March 22, news broke that Scripps Networks Interactive acquired rights to Travel Channel International. TCI is an independent company in the United Kingdom that distributes the Travel Channel brand in 20 languages across the globe. Scripps Networks Interactive will pay 65 million Euros to obtain TCI and pending regulatory approval, the deal is set to be completed in the second quarter of 2012. “Scripps Networks Interactive is the natural home for Travel Channel International,” said Richard Wolfe, Chief Executive of TCI. “Combining TCI’s reach and resources in our territories with those of SNI’s U.S. Travel Channel creates a new worldwide brand with powerful synergies in programming and advertising.” [7]

On March 29, 2012, A.B. Cruz stepped down from his position at SNI as chief legal officer and corporate secretary where he has served for eight years. Cruz stepped down so he can devote greater efforts towards the company’s government affairs as well as to allow more time to fulfill his responsibilities as a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Cruz states, “I look forward to my continued association with the company and am grateful for its support and encouragement as I meet the growing responsibilities of my military service.”[8]

Scripps Networks Interactive declared that the company will report first quarter 2012 operating results before the market opens on May 3rd. The conference call can be seen through a webcast on the company’s website or by telephone. Also, a replay of the conference call will be available online roughly four hours after the call. [9] Analysts at Wall St. are predicting $519.2 million in revenue for the quarter and $2.26 billion for the year. Hopefully these upcoming months for SNI supports these predictions.

Wanting to shed their image of extensive and early upfront events, Scripps Networks Interactive decided to do things differently this year. The company rented a larger venue and decided on a streamlined breakdown. After the 90-minute presentation, attendees said the networks together have 30 new or so returning shows. [10]

Scripps Networks Interactive announced its most recent news before the upfront presentation began. Travel America on the Travel Channel will run for one week in May. The channel will also unveil seven strong series this summer, which were emphasized during the upfront. Additionally, HGTV, which is usually sponsored to the max by ads, prefers product integrations and promotions to traditional spots.

Food Network, one of Scripps Networks Interactive’s most successful networks, has created a service that allows people to make restaurant reservations online. The website is called CityEats, displays the Food Network logo, and already operates on a small scale in the nation’s capital and Philadelphia, PA. CityEats only has about 130 restaurants so far but Food Network and SNI have high hopes for the future of this service.[11]

In other Food Network news, the network has strayed from its simple digital strategy and released a cookbook app revolving around one of the most beloved desserts: cupcakes! The iPad app, which is available for $2.99 at the iTunes store, contains photographs and videos enabling users to become the baker they have always wanted to be. The consensus is that the app is easy to navigate through and has a plentiful number of recipes. Some of the recipes have come from network personalities like Alton Brown, while other are from the popular competition show, Cupcake Wars.[12]

Anthony Bourdain - source: http://aol.it/fiof4W

Last month, Travel Channel also created an app that sells for $1.99. Called “Travel Channel Layover Guide with Anthony Bourdain,” this is the network’s first ever travel guide app. Designed to help users, “create their own Bourdain-inspired excursions,” the app includes content from Anthony Bourdain’s: No Reservations, and provides tools for finding awesome spots in layover cities. The goal of this app is to promote travelling to new places as well as “checking in” to these places via social media sites, promoting the brand in the process.

Not only did SNI’s Food Network have a record breaking January, but recent news states that it just recorded its best April in network history. Chopped All-Stars, which airs on Sunday nights, increased by 98% versus the same 2011 time-slot. Daytime programming also added to the success with popular shows such as Pioneer Woman and Sandwich King. [13]

References

[1] NYSE: SNI. (2012, January 31). Scripps Networks Interactive acquires RealGravity Inc. Retrieved April 22, 2012.

[2] (2012, February 1). Food Network’s January Is Highest-Rates, Most-Watched Month In Network History. Retrieved April 22, 2012.

[3] NYSE: SNI. (2012, February 16). Scripps Networks Interactive Increases Dividend 20 Percent. Retrieved April 22, 2012.

[4] James, S. B. (2012 ,February 28). Scripps Networks Interactive in ‘Active Discussions’ for Digital Distribution. Retrieved April 22, 2012.

[5] Lafayette, J. (2012, March 19). Scripps Networks Interactive Viewer Spending Claims Are on the Money. Retrieved April 22, 2012.

[6] (2012, March 19). HGTV Magazine to Officially Launch With June/July 2012 Issue. Retrieved April 24, 2012.

[7] NYSE: SNI. (2012, March 22). Scripps Networks Interactive to acquire Travel Channel International. Retrieved April 22, 2012.

[8] NYSE: SNI. (2012, March 29). Cruz stepping down as chief legal officer at Scripps Networks Interactive. Retrieved April 26, 2012

[9] NYSE: SNI. (2012, April 19). Scripps Networks Interactive to report first quarter results. Retrieved April 22, 2012.

[10] Thielman, S. (2012, April 25). Scripps Goes Big With 2012 Upfront Presentation. Retrieved April 26, 2012.

[11] Ramachandran, S. (2012, April 15). Food Networks New Side Dish. Retrieved April 26, 2012.

[12] Fitchard, K. (2012, April 20). Cupcakes! Food Network builds an interactive cookbook. Retrieved April 26, 2012.

[13] (2012, May 1). Food Network Has Highest-Rated, Most-Watched April Ever. Retrieved May 1, 2012.

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