Speaking at the UBS media conference in New York, McClatchy Company CEO Gary Pruitt reported that business is improving. In the newspaper business, though, that means that the negative numbers are getting smaller.
McClatchy noted that it saw improving advertising revenue trends that began in September and continued in October and November 2011. Advertising revenues were down 8.7% in October and 2.4% in November (down 5.6% for the two months combined), compared to declines of 10.1% through the first nine months of 2011. Total revenues for October and November combined were down 4.9% compared to declines of 8.7% through the first nine months of 2011.
“The improving advertising trends in the first two months of the fourth quarter have been led by retail and national advertising. This is particularly encouraging given that October and November were our strongest months in 2010, and so are our toughest comparisons of the year,” said Pruitt.
“While daily circulation has shown improvement over the year, Sunday circulation has improved dramatically and is now growing, up 1.9% in the last five months,” Pruitt said. “There is no discounting the importance of the Sunday newspaper. On average, Sunday drives nearly 36% of advertising revenues. The Sunday paper is highly profitable for us in addition to being highly valued by our readers and advertisers.”
RBR-TVBR observation: OK, explain to us again why Warren Buffett and John Lynch have been buying newspapers. We really don’t get it.