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Earnings Call: Gannett's Dubow Talks About Cost-Cutting And Packaging News

This story was written by David Kaplan.
Gannett (NYSE: GCI) CEO Craig Dubow opened the company's dismal Q1-earnings call by trying to highlight publishing and distribution changes, including sharing printing facilities and raising rates to increase circulation revenues. He spoke about "express editions" in Detroit, which did well mostly thanks to news about the ouster of GM CEO Rick Wagoner. Dubow also talked about the rollout of local/national web hybrid ContentOne. It's not just about cutting costs, he insisted, but about fostering a different way of thinking about packaging its news across its sites.

Total online revenues, including the 100 sites tied to print and broadcast, were $225 million, Dubow said. Given the rising unemployment figures, jobs site CareerBuilder suffered accordingly. Dubow noted that Q1 traffic was flat versus a year ago. On the plus side, operating cash revenue at CareerBuilder was up year over year, and CFO Gracia Martore claimed that the site is on track to meet expectations. More after the jump

No bottom yet: Dubow didn't want to guess if the economy has bottomed out, though he cautiously indicated that the company is seeing a "leveling off, which is a pretty optimistic right now."

Managing online distribution: Gannett is negotiating affiliate fees with the Associated Press, Dubow said, but declined to go into specifics. In the mobile area, Gannett is gearing up for Google's Android, and it is monitoring the recent launch of USA Today's iPhone app.

Cap ex is expected to be lower than $100 million for the year, Martore said, adding that it was about $18 million in Q1.

Furloughs: With unpaid leave in Q1 and Q2, Martore said that the company would be looking at where economic conditions are later in the quarter. "The determination hasn't been made on more furloughs. It's still too early to say."

By David Kaplan

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