TV gains ease sting of ad downturn at Gannett


August was another tough month for Gannett Company, with ad revenues at the nation’s largest newspaper chain down 16.8% on the print side to $300.2 million. Broadcasting, with 12 NBC affiliates in its 23-station portfolio, got a big boost from the Beijing Olympics. Revenues rose 20.7% to $72.1 million. Based on current pacings, the company says Q3 TV revenues are expected to be up in the mid-single digits.

The 20.7% gain for broadcast includes Captivate, the in-elevator video service. For the TV station group alone, August revenues were up 21.6%. The company said local gained 14.2% and national 36%, with the increases driven by almost $24 million in Olympics-related advertising and a $6.9 million increase in political.

For publishing, the worst showing, predictably, was from classified, down 28% to $110.8 million. National fell 13.3% to $44.1 million, including a 13.5% drop at USA Today. Retail advertising posted the smallest decline, down 6.9% to $145.3 million for the month.

Circulation revenues weren’t so hard-hit as advertising, but still fell 3.4% to $92.1 million.

In mid-August Gannett announced plans to eliminate over 1,000 jobs in its newspaper division, including pink-slipping of some 600 employees.