Olympics, ad spending, cuts help bottom line

Broadcaster-publisher Gannett kicked off big media earnings Monday with profits surging on the London Olympics, political ad spending and cost cuts.

Net income jumped 33% last quarter to $133 million. Revenue firmed 3.4% to $1.3 billion. Broadcast profit soared 73% to $119 million as revenue grew 36% to $237 million on robust ad demand — especially at NBC affiliates.

Gannett’s 23 stations cover 18.2% of the U.S. The summer Olympics injected $37 million of ad sales in the quarter, political contributed $42 million.

Retransmission revenue rose 11% to $22 million.

Gannett expects TV revenue in the current fourth quarter to rise in the “very high twenties” based on current trends with political making up more than a third of total spot advertising.

But the owner of USA Today and 81 other daily papers said publishing profits fell 32% to $74 million. Revenue dipped 3% to $890 million as ad sales fell 6.6%, party offset by a 5.6% uptick in circulation and a jump in digital coin. Gannett’s total digital revenue rose 22% to $335 million. The company is trying hard to push its properties online. At quarter’s end, Gannett had 120 sites affiliated with its local publishing and TV markets with 57 unique visitors.

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