Scripps Leaves Traditional Media Behind

| About: The E.W. (SSP)
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In With the New by Sandra Ward

Highlighted companies: E. W. Scripps Co. (NYSE:SSP), Tribune Co. (TRB) Gannett Co. (NYSE:GCI), Belo Corp. (NYSE:BLC), New York Times (NYSE:NYT)
Summary: While most newspaper and broadcasting stocks face declines in advertising revenue and circulation, E.W. Scripps has managed to sidestep some of their problems due to (1) strong growth at its niche cable channels (such as HGTV, The Food Network and Great American Country) and (2) its Shopzilla shopping search engine, which placed #7 among the top 10 online-shopping destinations the day after Thanksgiving and is now among the top 15 Internet companies based on traffic. Scripps InvestmentTraditional media is becoming less a focus for the company -- much of the cash generated by the "old media" businesses is now plowed into its cable networks and internet operations. Scripps' low price comes partially from its identification with traditional media companies, and it still appears undervalued. Analysts from Prudential Equity Group and Credit Suisse see the stock ranging from $60-$76 a share, so it's a steal now at $50. Upside includes consistently good instincts for consumer trends and the popularity of its high-end micro-targeting cable network. But Scripps has some hurdles to overcome: (1) The $268 million Shop At Home purchase flop. (2) Fear that the recent purchase of uSwitch, the British utility comparison shopper, may be the same. (3) Recent heavy insider selling. (4) Print media companies downtrend. (5) Expansion will mean having to work more with "frenemies" like Google and Yahoo! Bottom Line:"Shares could easily rise another 20%. New-media revenue is surging, and the newspapers are holding up relatively well." Visual Shopping Engine To Challenge Incumbents; Newspapers: Another Slide Coming?; Scripps’ Earnings Call - Why Shopzilla Will Wow Audiences, E.W. Scripps Company: An Unconventional Bursting Housing Bubble Play