Journal Communications: Broadcast Revs Up, Print Down

According to Journal Communications, which publishes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel among other newspapers, total revenues fell 1.9% to $82.3 million in the first quarter of 2012.

This was due to a 9% decrease in publishing revenue to $38 million over this period, more than offsetting a 5.4% increase in Journal’s broadcast revenues to $44.4 million. Within the publishing division, revenue declines were spread across all the major advertising categories, with retail down 9%, classifieds down 17.1% and interactive down 1.6%.

Revenue from community newspapers and shoppers fell 22.2% to $5 million. Total circulation revenues fell 2% to $12.3 million.

Revenue from Journal’s radio stations increased 1.5% to $14.9 million.

As noted, Journal is just the latest in a series of newspaper publishers reporting weak results. Gannett Co. saw total publishing revenues decline 6% to $874 million in the first quarter of 2012. This was due largely to an 8.3% decline in advertising revenues to $551 million, with retail ad revenue down 7.6%, national ad revenue down 13.3% and classifieds down 6.6%. Within Gannett’s U.S. classifieds business, automotive slipped 2.4%, employment was down 1.5%, and real estate tumbled 14.2%.

The New York Times Co. saw total advertising revenues slip 8.1% to $238 million, including a 6.1% drop at its news media group. NYTCO’s national ad revenues dropped 6% to $146 million, while retail slid 0.8% to $34.3 million, and classifieds tumbled 10% to $30.3 million.

Within NYTCO classifieds category, automotive fell 7.4%, employment 5.5%, and real estate 16.9%. On the plus side, the decline in ad revenues was mostly offset by increased circulation revenues from NYTCO’s online paywalls at The New York Times, International Herald Tribune and Boston Globe.

Finally, Media General saw total revenues increase slightly, growing 0.4% to $150 million, due to improved results from its broadcast TV stations and online properties. These were mostly offset by a decline in print ad revenues. Print ad revenues fell at the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Media General’s Charlottesville group, with classifieds down 12%, national down 1% and local down 2.8% in this market segment.

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