May revenues for Gannett’s television stations were down 6.2%, which at least was better than the 14.3% drop in ad revenues for its newspapers. Media General reported that broadcasting revenues fell 5% for the month, while publishing slumped 14.6%.
Gannett’s total broadcasting revenues, including the Captivate in-elevator video service, were down 5.9% to $61.8 million. Obviously, Captivate was up, since the TV station group saw revenues decline 6.2%, with local down 6.4% and national down 11.4%. Based on current pacings, Gannett said it expects Q2 television revenues to be down in the mid to high single digits.
Publishing revenues dropped 14.3% in May to $347.1 million at Gannett. Retail fell 9.7%, national 15.4% and classified 18.8%.
At Media General, CEO Marshall Morton said $725,000 in political revenues partially offset continued softness in national sales for the TV group – “driven by weak automotive advertising in particular.” Broadcasting revenues declined 5% to $26.4 million. Gross time sales were down 6.1%. Media General noted that the Tampa market was weakest, while Winston-Salem had a nominal increase in TV ad sales. Local sales declined 2.2% for the TV group, while national dropped 17.4%.
Media General’s publishing revenues dropped 14.6% to $35.2 million. Excluding Florida, where revenues dropped 22.8%, the publishing division’s revenues were down 10.8%. For the newspaper group, retail was down 6.2%, national 17.7% and classified 30.1%.
Interactive Media was the bright spot for Media General, with revenues up 16.9% to $3.3 million.
RBR/TVBR observation: At least the TV groups of these media companies have the political windfall to look forward to later this year. Newspapers won’t get much of that. Meanwhile, not only are they being hit by soft advertising by businesses at both the local and national level, but their classified ad business is disintegrating at an incredible rate as people turn to the Internet to offer up a sofa or used car that they no longer want. Where will it end? Well, Tribune CEO Sam Zell recently noted that classified cannot fall below zero.