Mixed earnings for publishers

Gannett reports Q2 growth

NEW YORK — Second-quarter earnings results for publishing companies were mixed due to the economy and the war in Iraq, which especially hurt advertising, but numbers are improving in June, reports released on Tuesday indicate.

Earnings were up at the Gannett Co., which publishes 100 daily newspapers in the U.S., including USA Today, and operates 22 television stations. However, the numbers were not so rosy for Dow Jones and the New York Times Co.

Gannett’s gains were due to the company’s television group and its British newspaper team Newsquest, which helped drive net income up 7% to $324.3 million or $1.20 a share, compared with $303.9 million or $1.13 a share for the second quarter in 2002. Despite a decreased demand for advertising, TV revenues were up 1% to $192.7 million. Lower interest rates and a favorable foreign exchange rate also helped.

Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal and other financial publications, earned $30.8 million or 38¢ a share in the second quarter, down from $54 million (64¢) a year ago. The loss was partly due to the sale of a community newspaper group in the second quarter of 2002, which increased last year’s figures.

Earnings also were down at the New York Times Co. Net income was $72.8 million, or 47¢ a share compared with $78.8 million (51¢) for the second quarter last year.

Advertising revenue was up toward the end of the quarter, however, rising 4.6% in June from the previous year.

In a report, the company said that in the third quarter it would be cost-cutting: “The war and SARS took a significant bite out of our second-quarter ad revenues, and we’re responding, as we said we would, by significantly reducing the cost side of the business.”

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