Gannett drops in profilts, rev

Strong TV advertising couldn't offset slump in print

Big broadcaster/publisher Gannett saw profit and revenue slide last quarter as stronger TV advertising couldn’t offset a slump on the print side early in the year.

Net income fell 24% to $68 million from $90 million, in part on $20 million in restructuring costs. Revenue eased 2.6% to $1.22 billion from $1.25 billion.

Broadcasting revenue of $176 million rose 7.5% on strong advertising demand, the company said Monday, citing higher auto spending, advertising associated with the Super Bowl, and an increase of $3.8 million in political ad demand. Gannett owns 23 stations covering 18.2% of the U.S. market.

Retransmission revenue rose 17% to $22.8 million. Television station digital revenues grew 6.4%.

Based on current trends, Gannett expects the percentage increase in total television revenues for the current second quarter to be in the high single digits compared to the 2011 period.

Broadcast operating income of $72.6 million, was up 14.4%.

In publishing, Gannett owns 82 daily papers led by flagship USA Today. Revenues fell to $874 million from $929 million reflecting soft advertising demand due in part to the tepid pace of the economic recovery. January was particularly weak and although activity improved in February and March it wasn’t enough to overcome the slow start to the year, said CEO Gracia Martore.

Advertising revenues totaled $551.4 million compared to $601.7 million in the first quarter of 2011. Advertising revenues in the U.S. were 8.3% lower in the first quarter. At Newsquest, the company’s operations in the UK, advertising revenues declined 6% percent, in local currency.

Digital revenues in the segment rose 12.5%.

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