Gannett Co., owner of more than 200 daily newspaper brands and the nation’s largest newspaper chain as measured by total circulation, reported third-quarter revenue of $800.2 million, a 1.8% decline from the same period in 2020.
But the company also posted a second straight profitable quarter and the fourth straight quarter of growth in EBITDA. Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter was $102.1 million, an increase of 16% compared to the third quarter of 2020. The company’s EBITDA margin was 12.8%, compared to 10.8% in the prior-year period.
Driving the company’s performance was its strength in the digital realm, both subscriptions and marketing solutions, including advertising, the company said in a statement on Friday.
“Nine months ago, we outlined a long-term vision for growth at Gannett, CEO Michael Reed stated. “While we are still in early stages, the strong growth in digital-only circulation and digital marketing solutions confirms we are on the right path.”
Digital revenue for the quarter totaled $265 million and accounted for over one-third of total revenue and growth, the company said. It recorded growth of 17.8% from the same period in 2020. Digital-only circulation revenue was $25.7 million for the quarter, with growth of 26.6% year-over-year. Digital-only paid subscribers exceeded 1.5 million at the end of the third quarter of 2021, up 46% compared to the same period in the prior year.
The company said in January that its goal is to have 10 million digital subscriptions within five years. It expects to finish this year with 1.65 million digital subscriptions.
Gannett also reported Friday that it had net income of $22.3 million, or 9 cents a share, in the third quarter, after a loss of $31.3 million, or 24 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. The income-per-share figure and the revenue of $800 million were below analysts’ consensus of 12 cents a share and $818 million in revenue.
Gannett shares were trading at $5.95 on Friday morning, off from $6.30 in the previous close.