Gannett suffered a 10% dip in revenue year-over-year, but increased paid digital subscriptions by almost 30%.
CEO Michael Reed said there are no plans to reduce print newspaper operations, despite a struggling industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gannett, which owns more than 260 daily publications, had first-quarter revenues of $948.7 million, according to its earnings report released yesterday.
However, the company experienced a net loss of $80.2 million in the quarter.
Gannett’s print advertising revenues fell 21.2% to $268 million in Q1 2020, compared to the same quarter last year.
Conversely, digital advertising and marketing services revenue increased by 1.7% to $136 million, “reflecting strong national digital media trends and continued strength with our local digital marketing services,” according to the report.
Circulation revenue declined 7.5% to $375 million.
Paid digital subscriptions went up 29% from a year earlier, to 863,000 in Q1, accounting for about $60 million in circulation revenue in the first quarter.
Print subscriptions accounted for $315 million.
In November, New Media Investment Group and Gannett merged to create the largest U.S. media company by print circulation.
“Revenue and EBITDA performance were strong, despite the disruption experienced over the last two weeks of March from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Reed stated. “The impact on our business from the pandemic came fast and is significant.”
Before the pandemic hit, Gannett was “actually pacing ahead of expectations for both revenue and EBITDA,” Reed said on an investor conference call, according to a report from USA Today, which Gannett owns.
Reed suggested year-over-year Q2 expenses could fall by more than 25%, compared with a decrease of about 10.5% in the first quarter.
Eliminating some newspaper printing and delivery is "not part of our plan today," Reed told USA Today.