Digital is on the upswing at multimedia Gannett Corporation, and its broadcast television properties had very encouraging results at the beginning of the traditional odd-year revenue slump. But continued reverses in the print end of the business resulted in a 3.7% loss in net revenue.
On the plus side, the company realized an across-the-board 12.1% increase in digital revenue, going from $140.6M to $157.6M.
Broadcast was down 2.2%, slipping from $167.5M to $163.9M. However, this was seen as a victory, given the absence of the Olympics, the Super Bowl and significant political advertising on the balance sheet. See the related story here.
Publishing, including flagship USA Today, remains the company’s biggest challenge, but even there, the news was at least muted, considering that the newspaper business had been losing revenue in double-digit percentages in the not-too-distant past. Advertising revenue fell 7.3% from $649.3M to $601.7M, and circulation revenue fell 3.9% from $279.0M to $268.2M.
Summing up, Chairman/CEO Craig Dubow stated, “During the quarter, we continued to focus on enhancing content distribution on every platform and sales across platforms. The success of those efforts resulted in a 12 percent increase in company-wide digital revenue. Our Publishing segment results for the quarter reflect the current state of the domestic economy with strength in the auto and employment sectors. However, softness persists in certain sectors, particularly the real estate market here, and more broadly in the UK. Core advertising in Broadcasting continued the momentum seen in 2010. As a result, television revenues, when adjusted for the positive impact of the Olympics, the Super Bowl, which moved from CBS to Fox, and political spending in the first quarter last year, were up significantly. Our expenses were lower overall, reflecting our ongoing efforts to increase efficiencies particularly in the Publishing segment. The decline was offset, in part, by an increase in newsprint expense and higher Digital segment expenses associated with the substantial increase in revenues there.”
Looking ahead, Gannett is working to integrate all of its assets, branding the entire company portfolio under the tagline “It’s all within reach.” Explained Dubow, “We accelerated the pace of our strategic transformation efforts to further strengthen and position our company for growth. During the quarter, we added two proven industry leaders to our management team in the critical roles of chief marketing officer and chief digital officer. We also launched our first corporate brand and advertising campaign which broadly communicates the full range, value and reach our powerful portfolio of products offers to consumers and business customers.”