Scripps Among Publishers Facing ‘Programmatic Headwinds’

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CPMs publishers decliningThe shift to programmatic isn’t making things easier for Scripps, the media company behind properties like HGTV, The Food Network, and The Travel Channel.

Programmatic, difficulties monetizing mobile, and declining display revenues brought Scripps’ digital business down 5.3% year over year. Since digital accounted for just $27 million out of Scripps’ $684 million in revenue for the quarter, the company had a solid quarter overall, with total operating revenues up 6.5%.

“We're seeing some headwinds from programmatic buying” affecting digital revenues, President Burton Jablin told investors during the company’s Q2 earnings call Thursday.

Scripps is not alone in having difficulty adapting to programmatic. Other publishers that have cited issues with programmatic depressing average CPMs areThe New York Times, Meredith, Yahoo .

Scripps is taking steps to bring more video content online, where it hopes to merit higher CPMs. In mid-2013, Scripps soft-launched uLive, which offers free, ad-supported streaming of selected cable content as well as 70 original web series. “ULive is a response to the demand for more inventory in video, [and] for more inventory in mobile, and we're seeing some nice revenue growth there,” Jablin said.

Digital and television are also working together. At its last Upfront, the Scripps sales team created packaged and sold television and digital ad inventory together, which Jablin also cited as a way the two areas of the business can complement each other.

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