July 28, 2016

New Media Investment Group, which operate the GateHouse chain of newspapers and websites, kept second quarter same property revenue losses to 3.2 percent year-to-year.

The company also announced that it has acquired the family-owned Fayetteville Observer, which serves the eastern North Carolina city and nearby Fort Bragg, for $18 million.

Like the rest of the industry, New Media suffered sharp ad revenue losses in the quarter — 10.2 percent year-to-year.  However revenue growth in circulation, a direct marketing service and commercial printing made up for two-thirds of that.

New Media recorded net income for the quarter of $9.4 million on revenues of $314.8 million, a margin of 3 percent.

New Media also continues to pay a 33 cent per share quarterly dividend.  With a stock price, currently $18.44 a share, that works out to a 6 percent yearly cash return to investors.

Like Gannett, New Media continues to acquire papers, trying to take advantage of scale and operating them lean. (The remaining editorial staff at its Lakeland Ledger petitioned for union representation earlier this month).

It also sold the Las Vegas Review Journal to the Adelson family for a huge gain late in 2015.

CEO Mike Reed said in an earnings press release, that the revenue losses on a same property basis are narrowing quarter by quarter and that he expects “organic revenue growth by year-end 2017.”

New Media shares were down 5.9 percent in early afternoon trading.

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Rick Edmonds is media business analyst for the Poynter Institute where he has done research and writing for the last fifteen years. His commentary on…
Rick Edmonds

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