Gannett’s broadcast revenue soars, circulation revenue slips

Gannett | USA Today

Revenue from broadcasting in Gannett’s first quarter just about doubled over the same period a year earlier, the company announced in an earnings report Wednesday. Gannett attributed the 99.5 percent rise in broadcast revenue to its acquisition of Belo, as well as Winter Olympics, political advertising and retransmission revenue.

On a pro-forma basis (making comparisons as if Gannett had acquired Belo’s stations at the beginning of last year), retransmission revenue was up 66 percent over the first quarter of 2013.

Revenue at Gannett’s publishing properties was down 3.3 percent overall for the quarter. Advertising revenue was down about 5 percent worldwide and about 6 percent in the U.S., and circulation revenue fell by 1.4 percent, which the company attributes in part to “lower circulation revenue at local domestic publishing operations.”

Looking at the company’s fourth-quarter results earlier this year, Poynter’s Rick Edmonds wrote that squishy circulation figures raised “the concern that capturing revenue from new digital subscribers and pairing ‘all access’ print/digital bundles with a big price increase could be a one-time revenue event.”

In a statement accompanying the release, President and CEO Gracia Martore said USA Today’s “butterfly edition” in local papers “continues to gain significant traction with subscribers.” In a conference call with analysts for fourth-quarter results, Edmonds reported, Martore said the expanded USA Today offering “could provide the rationale for another round of price increases” later this year.

Digital revenue was up about 3 percent, mostly due to sales at its CareerBuilder business. Gannett’s 120 or so web publishing properties had 67.5 million unique visitors between them, the report says.

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