Not only is business improving, but Gannett has 12 NBC stations in its portfolio of 23 TV stations, so it is looking for a big boost from the Winter Olympics. So, Q1 is pacing up.
Gannett CFO Gracia Martore told analysts during the company’s quarterly conference call that Q1 broadcasting revenues should be up in the high single digits, “if not touch the double digits.”
“Political and issues advertising will, of course, be a tremendous opportunity for us – to some degree early in the year, but primarily in the latter half,” said CEO Craig Dubow. Asked about the Super Bowl, Dubow said sales are strong, but the overall total for Gannett’s TV stations will be down from last year, since the big game will be on its six CBS stations this year, vs. 12 NBC stations last year.
Dubow used the quarterly conference call to reveal that Martore has been promoted to President and COO of the company. “Gracia is a phenomenal leader, bringing not only her tremendous financial skills for this job, but her extensive knowledge of our business operations and a very, very passionate support for our company,” Dubow said. He will continue as Chairman and CEO. Having Martore running day-to-day operations “will allow me to spend the bulk of my time focusing on driving the strategic direction and future of our company,” Dubow said. “I will continue to work on M&A activity and Gracia and I will work together and will continue to meet with the financial community,” he noted. Martore will continue as CFO until her successor is named.
RBR-TVBR observation: Martore got a tryout of sorts in running the day-to-day operations for several months last year as Dubow recovered from surgery. No doubt she will do fine in the position, given the depth of her experience. More interesting is Dubow’s notation that the change will give him more time to focus on M&A. Is Gannett about to go on a buying spree?