It’s clearly been another rough quarter for big newspaper publishers, with just a few exceptions, judging by the latest round of quarterly results. Thursday brought Gannett’s announcement that total revenues for the company fell 3.6% — from $772 million in the third quarter of 2016 to $744 million in the third quarter of 2017.
(That included the financial contribution of recent acquisitions.)
Within the company’s publishing segment, on a “same store” basis accounting for acquisitions, total revenues fell 11% from $737 million to $660 million. The decrease was due, in large part, to an 18.7% drop in print advertising revenues, while circulation revenues fell 7.4%.
There were some brighter spots.
Gannett noted digital advertising revenues increased 4.1% to $102.9 million, while digital revenues from all sources, including advertising and circulation, came to $245 million in the quarter, making up a third of total revenues.
Gannett pointed to a 60% year-over-year increase in digital subscribers, numbering over 312,000 at the end of the most recent quarter. The publisher is also making headway in a cost-cutting campaign, with operating expenses shrinking 8.2% from $798.2 million in to $732.5 million.
Still, the outlook remains uncertain, especially as growth in digital advertising revenues is still failing to offset losses on the print side. In a separate announcement, the company revealed that its president of domestic publishing, John Zidich, will retire in April 2018.
Gannett’s results are broadly in line with other big newspaper publishers. As noted in a previous post, McClatchy Co. reported total revenues fell 9.4% from $235.7 million in the third quarter of 2016 to $212.6 million in the third quarter of this year. A.H. Belo, publisher of The Dallas Morning News, reported total revenues fell 6.5% from $64.8 million in the third quarter of last year to $60.6 million this year.
On a more positive note, The New York Times Co. reported total revenues increased 6% from $364 million in the third quarter of 2016 to $386 million in the same period this year, due to an 11% increase in digital ad revenues, to $49 million, and a 13.6% increase in subscription revenues.
NYT revenue from digital-only subs was up 46%, reaching $86 million.