Gannett Revs Dip, Print Woes Cited

Gannett Co. revenues sank 3.7% from $1.35 billion in the first quarter of 2010 to $1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2011, the company announced Monday -- attributing the decline to the continuing problems of print newspaper advertising, as well as some softness on the broadcast TV side.

Total publishing revenues came to $930 million, down 6.2% from $992 million in the first quarter of 2010. This was due mostly to falling ad revenues, which slid 7.3% from $649 million to $602 million.

In the U.S. publishing division, which includes national flagship USA Today, Gannett said retail ad revenues sank 7.1%, national 11.1% and classifieds 3.4%.

Classifieds saw smaller declines than in previous quarters, due to modest increases in employment (7.3%) and automotive (6.1%) listings. However, continuing declines in the U.S. housing market were a heavy drag on real-estate revenues, which fell 18.4%.

As in previous quarters, digital was a bright spot on Gannett's balance sheets, with total U.S. community publishing digital revenues increasing 13.3%, and USA Today's digital revenues up 19.2%.



Broadcast TV revenues sank 2.4% from $168 million in the first quarter of 2010 to $164 million in the first quarter of 2011. Gannett noted the absence of a number of big TV ad drivers this year -- including the Olympics, which benefited NBC affiliated stations, and the Super Bowl, which moved from CBS to Fox.

Looking ahead, revenue comparisons in the second, third and fourth quarters may also suffer due to the lack of political ad spending associated with the 2010 midterm elections.

In the last four years, Gannett's first-quarter revenues have declined about 30.5%, from $1.87 billion in the first quarter of 2007 to $1.3 billion this year.

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