Gannett's Paid Digital Subscribers Up 31% In Q2, But Revs Down

Gannett Co.’s paid digital subscriptions increased 31% year-over-year to 927,000, according to the publisher’s second-quarter earnings report released yesterday.

"At no time in our history has the value of high-quality journalism been as clear as it is right now, at this intersection of a global pandemic and a nation in turmoil over systemic racism and inequality,” stated Michael Reed, Gannett Chairman-CEO.

Audiences have turned to Gannett’s publications “in record numbers since the beginning of the pandemic,” he added.

However, like many other publishers, revenue took a hit, due to the public-health crisis.

The second quarter was “significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Reed stated. Revenue fell 28% from a year earlier to $767 million.

The company did see “sequential improvement to revenue each month during the quarter and successfully realized over $125 million of incremental expense savings during the quarter,” Reed noted.

Gannett’s digital advertising and marketing services revenue fell 27% to $104 million, compared to the same quarter in 2019. 

Print advertising revenue went down 45% to $188 million. Circulation revenue declined 14% to $342 million.

The media company reported adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $78 million.

In November 2019, New Media acquired Gannett, and changed its company name to Gannett Co. The $1.1 billion merger created the largest U.S. media company by print circulation — it owns more than 260 daily publications, including USA Today.

In response to the pandemic, Gannett says it “reduced expenses for the second quarter by over $125 million through implementation of furloughs, significant pay reductions, reductions in force, and cancellation of nonessential travel and spending,” according to the report.

Employees especially took a hit in March.

Gannett eliminated the Gannett Media Corp. CEO position in June, and Paul Bascobert stepped down. Reed has assumed his responsibilities.
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