The world’s largest newspaper company was primarily dependent on its TV stations group for growth in Q4. While revenues fell nearly 5% for Gannett’s publishing division and cash flow improved only 1%, broadcasting revenues shot up 47% and cash flow ballooned 41%.
“In the publishing segment, revenue growth is still illusive. We are not where we would like to be, but we are working diligently to get there. We are committed to keeping our expenses in-line with our revenue,” CEO Craig Dubow told Wall Street analysts in the company’s quarterly conference call.
Publishing revenues were down 4.7% to $1.1 billion, but cost-cutting boosted operating cash flow by 1.2% to $240.2 million. US ad revenues were down 4.8%, with national down 8%, retail 4.5% and classified 2.2%.
The much smaller TV segment produced nearly half as much cash flow in the quarter with less than a quarter of the revenues of the newspaper side. Broadcast revenues, including the Captivate video ad service in office buildings, rose 27.1% to $2.328 million, producing a 41.3% improvement in operating cash flow to $123.8 million. TV station revenues rose 26.2% to $220.2 million. Excluding political, TV ad revenues were up 1.2%. Retransmission consent revenues jumped 15.9% in Q4 to $16.4 million.
RBR-TVBR observation: The advertising recovery is not uniform across all media. As noted previously by Tribune Company, newspapers are not bouncing back as rapidly as other “old media.” TV is a must-buy for advertisers and radio is doing OK, even as Internet and mobile advertising grow in importance. Even for those traditional newspaper companies which have large footprints in other media, it is very difficult to deal with the print drag.