While newspaper advertising revenues continue to fall, online paywalls are finally starting to pay off -- judging by their success at Gannett, the
country’s largest newspaper publisher.
According to Gannett, total circulation revenues jumped 16.8% from $268 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $313 million in the fourth quarter of 2012; excluding an extra week in the fourth quarter of 2012. Circulation revenues were still up 9.3%.
This helped boost the bottom line for the publishing division, which saw
total revenues increase 3.7% from $1.01 billion to $1.04 billion over the same period.
The increase came despite a 2% drop in advertising revenues, from $658 million to $671 million. Retail revenues were down 1.3%, national fell 6.8%, and classifieds were up 0.5%.
Gannett began requiring readers to pay for online content from its 82 community newspapers a year ago. This is the third straight quarter where circulation revenues increased year over year. Digital revenues, including online businesses like CareerBuilder, now represent 25% of all Gannett revenues.
Broadcasting revenues also contributed to the positive fourth-quarter result, fueled in large part by heavy political ad spending. Total broadcast revenues were up from $200 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $288 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.
For the full-year 2012, broadcasting revenues were up 25.4% to $906 million, thanks to both political advertising and Summer Olympics ads. For the full year, publishing advertising revenues were down 6.2% to $2.36 billion, while publishing circulation revenues increased 5% to $1.12 billion.