For the first time in years, Gannett Co. reported revenue growth in the third quarter, when total revenues reached $1.3 billion, up 3.1% from $1.27
billion in the same period of 2011.
The increase was due mostly to strong growth at its broadcast segment, where revenues increased 36% from $174 million last year to $237 million this year, due mostly to political and Olympics advertising. Total TV revenues increased 38.1% from $169 million to $233 million. Revenue also increased at Gannett’s digital segment, with total operating revenues up 4.7% to $182 million, due primarily to growth at CareerBuilder.
Gannett’s publishing division saw total revenues fall 3% from $917.8 million to $890 million, with total publishing advertising revenues sinking 6.6% from $592 million to nearly $553 million. Company-wide retail advertising fell 7%, national advertising was down 8.1%, and classified revenues slipped 5.1%.
Within the publishing classifieds category, employment declined 4.4% and real estate fell 10.2%. There was a bright spot in automotive, which increased 1.3%
While advertising revenues continued to decline in the third quarter, Gannett touted growth in circulation revenues resulting from the company’s implementation of online paywalls at its community newspapers over the last six months; circulation revenues at its local U.S. publishing operations increased 9.8% in the third quarter, driving a 5.6% bump in company-wide circulation revenues.
As noted, these third-quarter results mark the first year-over-year increase in quarterly revenues in some years for Gannett, which saw its last quarterly increase in the fourth quarter of 2006. Comparing the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2006, Gannett’s total revenues are still down 31.4% from $1.91 billion six years ago.