Earnings Call: Gannett Expects More Declines On The Print Side, But Digital Growth Looks Stronger

This story was written by David Kaplan.
[In progress] Things are so bad in the newspaper industry and the economy at large that Gannett (NYSE: GCI) is suspending the monthly revenue reports, said Gracia Martore, the company's CFO, during the morning earnings call. After highlighting the pain afflicting newspapers, from the dismal housing market to the global financial crisis, Gannett CEO Craig Dubow said that the challenges will only accelerate the company's drive to build up its digital business.

Apart from the poor Q3 showingas reported earlier, net income plunged 32 percent to $158 million ($0.69 per share) and revs slid 8.9 percent to $1.64 billionDubow noted that the shifts in the newspaper business and the slumping economy pushed real estate and employee classified ads down for most of its segments. That said, digital has remained a bright spot, he said. The digital segment brought in $77.5 million in revenues in Q3, compared to just $17.1 million the year before, and broadcasting's online revenue was up 15 percent. Considering the slowdown in online ads, the double-digit growth is either proof of the company's new focus on its Web extensions, or a statement of how far behind it was last year. Perhaps a bit of both.

Asked about trends on the print side during the Q&A, Dubow said there hasn't been much changein other words, more and more declines. As for details about particular categories, auto ad spend, retail, packaged goods and telecom have been down significantly, with autos in the double digits. More to come

By David Kaplan