Gannett prepares for big TV year


Q4 broadcasting revenues were down 18% (down 22% without adjusting for one less week) and Q1 is pacing down low single digits for Gannett’s broadcasting division, but executives told analysts to expect big things later in 2008 as Olympics and political advertising kick in. Meanwhile, Gannett CEO Craig Dubow dismissed any notion of selling or spinning off the company’s TV stations. Rather, he sees a strong year for broadcasting this year.

“We’re moving forward. We’re really excited about what the group has already produced and we’re looking forward.” Pressed further by an analyst about any change post-election, Dubow said “we will always continue to assess everything, as we have in the past. But at this time, from what we can see right now, we see good upside opportunity with the group as we go forward.”

While Q1 pacings are down in the low single digits, CFO Gracia Martore cautioned analysts and investors that TV revenues will not come in evenly this year. She noted that the company’s CBS stations do not have the Super Bowl this year as they did last year. (Gannett has no Fox affiliates.) “We fully expect stronger results in broadcasting this year because we are well positioned in our markets for the much-anticipated political spending, as well as Olympics,” she said.