Gannett Co., Inc. (GCI), America’s largest newspaper publisher, beat expectations for their first quarter results, pulling in adjusted earnings at $0.50 per share, compared to $0.41 expected by analysts.
Newspaper ad revenues are down, but the dip is less than expected.
Gannett, which cranks out 85 daily newspapers including USA Today, reports ad revs are down $665.9 million, or 7.9% for the first quarter in 2009. Analysts said that a drop less than 10% is an improvement.
More good news: Their broadcast TV division, which includes 23 stations, brought in $167.5 million in revenues, up 16.7% compared to the first quarter last year. The Winter Olympic Games on their NBC affiliates stations as well as an solid revenue growth at Captivate brought in the big money there. Television revenues were $161.3 million compared to $139.8 million in the first quarter last year reflecting in part $18.6 million in ad spending related to the Olympics.
More from the release:
- 1Q net income up $117.2 million, or $0.49 a share, from $77.4 million, or $0.34 a share last year.
- In publishing, classified revenues are down 7.9% in the quarter. Automotive ads are down by 2.6%, employment ads down by 12%, and real estate ads are down 15.5%.
- USA TODAY got a slight boost with car, tech and retail ads, but weak travel, entertainment, financial, telecommunications and pharmacy ads pulled earnings down.
- USA TODAY’s paid advertising pages totaled 544 compared with 527 in last year’s first quarter.
- Digital revenues were $140.6 million for 2010 1Q, a 1.8% decline from last year. CareerBuilder got a major hit from low job ads, but revenues are still up 10.9% from the fourth quarter last year. Other digital assets including PointRoll, ShopLocal, Planet Discover, Schedule Star and Ripple6 helped bring in those revenues. Digital operating expenses were also down 4.9% to total $137.3 million in the first quarter.
Here’s CEO Craig Dubow from the release:
“We achieved very strong results for the quarter. All of our business segments delivered substantially higher operating income and operating cash flow in the quarter. We more than doubled adjusted net income despite lower revenues and reduced our debt by approximately $260 million in the quarter,” said Craig A. Dubow, chairman and chief executive officer. “The momentum we had at the end of last year continued through the first quarter. Revenue trend comparisons improved in the quarter reflecting the positive impact healthier economies in the U.S. and the UK had on advertising demand as well as advertising revenue associated with the Winter Olympic Games. We also benefited from significantly lower costs due to greater efficiencies and substantially lower newsprint expense. We are well positioned for continued growth as the economy improves and we are extremely encouraged by the revenue trends and our ability to create and capture operating leverage.”
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