Gannett Reports Digital Revenue Up, USA Today Digital Division Jumps 35.1%

USAtoday

For the third quarter of the year, Gannett Co. Inc. on Friday said digital revenues in U.S. Community Publishing were up 10.2%, thanks to gains in virtually all categories. Reflecting a stronger national ad market, USA Today digital advertising increased a whopping 35.1%, according to Gannett Co.

Digital operating revenues totaled $157.7 million compared to $143.0 million in the third quarter last year. Company-wide digital revenues, which include the digital segment and all digital revenues generated by the other business segments, were $255.7 million -- or 9.9% higher compared to the third quarter in 2009. Company-wide, digital revenues represented over 19% of total operating revenues, according to Gannett Co.

Digital segment revenues were propelled by strong growth at PointRoll and CareerBuilder," said Gannett Co.'s chairman and CEO Craig Dubow. Meanwhile, "our publishing segment saw continued sequential improvement in both year-over-year comparisons as well as two-year comparisons." The company's digital segment includes results for CareerBuilder, PointRoll, ShopLocal, Planet Discover, Schedule Star and Ripple6. The 10.3% increase reflected high-single-digit revenue growth at CareerBuilder, along with double-digit revenue growth at PointRoll, according to the company.

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Digital operating expenses totaled $141.9 million -- while, excluding special items, operating expenses were $129 million in the third quarter. As a result, segment operating income excluding special items was up 16.4%.

Marking the most radical shift in the paper's history, USA Today this summer announced a major organizational restructuring with the creation of new departments, as well as key appointments in circulation, finance and news. The restructuring reportedly resulted in staff cuts of 9%, or about 130 of 1,500 existing jobs.

Per the reorganization, Steve Kurtz was appointed vice president of digital development, focusing on USA Today's existing "dotcom," mobile, iPhone and iPad platforms.

Thanks to lower operating expenses, Gannett Co.'s third-quarter profit soared 38%, while print-ad revenue dropped 5.1% year-over-year. Overall, Gannett Co. reported a profit of $101.4 million, or 42 cents a share, up from $73.8 million, or 31 cents a share, year-over-year.

"We closed the revenue gap this quarter with sequential improvement in publishing revenues as well as substantially higher broadcasting and digital revenues despite increased economic uncertainty," Dubow said on Friday.

 

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