News Brief

Gannett Blames Ad Slowdown for Revenue Decline

Gannett Co. reported a 14% decline in first quarter earnings from continuing operations Tuesday, blaming an advertising slowdown and higher newsprint costs, but the drop off at the nation's largest newspaper publisher was less than that reported by two of its peers. For the three months ending April 1, Gannett earned $174.5 million, or 66 cents per share, compared with $950.2 million, or $3.44 per share.

Gannett, which publishes USA Today and 98 other daily newspapers in the United States, said its U.S. advertising revenues were impacted by an overall slowdown in ad spending, especially help-wanted classifieds. It also cited the absence of millennium-related ads and a sharp decline in Internet company advertising.

Gannett's revenues jumped 19% to $1.57 billion from $1.32 billion in the same quarter a year ago as the company absorbed several acquisitions, including Central Newspapers Inc., 19 papers from Thomson Newspapers, and News Communications & Media of Britain. Had the company owned the same papers in both periods, advertising revenues would have declined 3% as advertising volume fell 4%, the company said in a statement.