E.W. Scripps

Media company owning newspapers and cable networks.

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Headquarters: 312 Walnut St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Employees: 5,000
CEO: Richard Boehne
Stock Symbol: SSP

Website: http://www.scripps.com

Career Site

The E. W. Scripps Company is a diverse media concern with interests in newspaper publishing, broadcast television stations and syndication.

Scripps operates daily and community newspapers in 13 markets, and 19 broadcast TV stations.

Scripps also operates Scripps Howard News Service and United Media, the worldwide syndication home of Dilbert, Marmaduke and 150 other features and characters.

Top newspapers owned by Scripps include the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, TN, Knoxville (TN) News-Sentinel and Ventura County (CA) Star.

The company also runs the Scripps National Spelling Bee with more than 250 sponsoring newspapers and 10 million youngsters taking part each year. The Spelling Bee is operated on a not-for-profit basis.

The company spun off its 5 cable networks and 2 online sites into a separate company called Scripps Interactive in 2008.

The E.W. Scripps acquired nine television stations from McGraw-Hill Broadcasting in 2011 for $212 million. The purchased assets include ABC-affiliated stations in Denver, Indianapolis, San Diego and Bakersfield, CA, and five stations affiliated with the Spanish-language Azteca America network in Colorado and southern California.

The company reported revenues of $728.6 million in 2011 and net loss of $15.6 million.


The Early Years (1878-1934)

In 1878 Edward W. Scripps borrowed $10,000 from his brothers to help launch America's first information revolution. With the loan, the young entrepreneur founded a newspaper in Cleveland aimed at an emerging - but yet unserved - mass audience of urban workers.

"The Penny Press," named for its affordable price, was clear, concise and politically independent. It quickly became the model for the nation's first mass medium.

From Cleveland, Scripps took the formula to dozens of other cities, building one of the first newspaper chains under common ownership.

In 1907, his independent spirit led Scripps to challenge the Associated Press, which at the time struck exclusive agreements with only one newspaper in each market, thereby discouraging the launch of competing newspapers. Scripps responded with United Press International. The service was available to all and became a leading force in worldwide journalism for decades to come.

Scripps also nurtured a syndicated features service, initially built around the writing of his sister, into a licensing and syndication company that thrives today as United Media.

In the early 1920s, Scripps added "Howard" to the company's operating name to recognize the growing contribution of Roy W. Howard, an aggressive young newsman who rose to become president and chairman of the concern.

The Advent and Development of Broadcasting (1935-1980)

At the urging of Jack R. Howard, Roy's son and later his successor, the company took advantage of America's next information revolution by launching radio stations in the 1930s, then some of the country's first local television stations in the 1940s. Two of the company's first TV stations are still among its most successful: WEWS in Cleveland, whose call letters were selected to match the founder's initials and WCPO in Cincinnati, named for its affiliation with The Cincinnati Post.

In 1950, Scripps launched Charles Schulz's comic strip, "Peanuts." Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the group quickly worked their way into the funny pages of more than 2,000 newspapers around the world.

During the 1950s, and continuing through the 1980s, Scripps solidified its position as one of the most successful newspaper publishers of the post-war era, and built its reputation as a leading operator of local television stations.

Cable Television Systems (1981-1990)

In the early 1980s, in an effort to develop a profit source that wasn't dependent upon advertising, Scripps began buying and building cable television systems, eventually becoming one of America's largest cable operators.

In 1988, for the first time in the company's history, the Scripps family sold stock to the public. Shares of The E. W. Scripps Company opened in the public market at $8 (adjusted for a 2:1 split in 2004).

New Technology Leads to New Media Opportunities (1991-2000)

In the 1990s, to take advantage of the changes in technology and new media opportunities, Scripps began to direct its free cash flow to investments in information and entertainment content. In 1994 Scripps purchased Cinetel Productions, a Knoxville-based creator of programming for cable, and announced plans to launch Home & Garden Television.

In response to a trend toward consolidation within the cable system industry and a changing market, the cable TV systems were sold to Comcast in 1996 and the value was distributed directly to the company's shareholders.

Scripps Grows as a Diverse Media Company in The New Millennium (2001 and beyond)

Building on the success of HGTV, Scripps acquired or launched additional lifestyle television networks. Food Network was brought into the fold and, like HGTV, is now in more than 90 million U.S. television households. The company started the DIY Network and Fine Living, and acquired GAC to round out a five-network portfolio that topped a billion dollars in revenue in 2006. Scripps Networks continues to launch niche broadband channels that extend the core brands' presence on the Internet with advertiser-supported, on-demand content.

In 2005 Scripps acquired Shopzilla, an online comparison shopping service that creates a market of tens of millions of products offered by more than 85,000 merchants. UK-based uSwitch, an online comparison service focusing on essential home services, was acquired with the intention that its business model could be exported to other geographic markets. Shopzilla and uSwitch form the company's newest reporting segment -- the Interactive Media Division -- and have helped propel Scripps to a top-15 ranking on the list of the world's largest companies on the Web (based on unique visitors).

On July 1, 2008, the five cable networks and the two online comparison shopping services split off into a publicly traded company: Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI). Shares in the new company were distributed to Scripps shareholders on a one-for-one basis in the form of a dividend.

Updated October 2, 2012