Gannett net income drops 33%

Television revenues fell to $192 million

As the climate for newspapers remains rocky and lower political advertising hit the TV side, Gannett saw net income drop 33% last quarter to $117 million, the big publisher/broadcaster said Monday.

Lower political advertising will be a hallmark this earnings season as the last quarter of 2010 saw some hotly contested congressional races.

The McLean, Va., company, which owns 82 daily papers and 23 TV stations, also posted some one-time restructuring charges that hit profit.

Revenue dipped 5% last quarter to about $1.38 billion from $1.46 billion.

Television revenues fell to $192 million from $220 million on a net decrease of $48 million in political advertising. Excluding political, however, Gannett said TV revenue was up more than 11%, in part on strong auto advertising.

Retransmission revenues totaled $21 million, up 30%. Television station digital revenues rose 19%.

Publishing led by flagship USA Today saw revenue fall 5% to $1 billion as advertising revenue dipped to $671 million from $722 million.

At USA Today, increases in several categories including telecommunications, credit cards and automotive were offset by declines in the travel, entertainment and technology categories.

Digital revenue in publishing rose 7% on cross-platform sales efforts and a partnership with Yahoo.

Gannett noted that year-over-year comparisons U.S. operations in the fourth quarter for were better relative to the third quarter comps, with improvements in all major categories.

The company generated net cash flow of $775 million in 2011.

“Gannett’s strong balance sheet and cash generation give us the flexibility to execute our growth strategy and successfully compete in the digital era while paying down debt and returning capital to shareholders,” CEO Gracia Martore said.