Gannett Broadcast Revenue Down 16%

Gannett reported broadcasting revenues in the fourth quarter of $228.2 million, down 15.7% from the fourth quarter of 2012, which had benefited from $85.8 million of incremental political advertising. Excluding political spending from last year, broadcasting revenues were 23.4% higher in 2013’s fourth quarter.

Retransmission revenues were $38.9 million in the quarter, an increase of 31.5% from the fourth quarter in 2012. Television station digital revenues were up 40.3%.

Quarterly results exclude the extra week in the fourth quarter of 2012, special items and operating results from Captivate, Gannett’s elevator video network, in both years.

Gannett closed on its $2.2 billion acquisition of Belo late in 2012. With that under its belt, total television revenues are projected to increase almost 100% in the first quarter of 2014. On a pro forma basis, the percentage increase is projected to be in the high teens.

Gannett’s operating revenues totaled $1.37 billion in the fourth quarter, 6% lower than the fourth quarter in 2012. Operating revenues in the publishing segment were $944.3 million in the quarter, a 4.6% decline due to lower advertising demand and “challenging” circulation revenue comparisons, which reflect the impact of Gannett’s all access content subscription model. Advertising revenues were 5.9% lower in the publishing division.

Gracia Martore, president and CEO, called it “a highly productive, transformative year” for Gannett. “From our game-changing acquisition of Belo and the progress of G/O Digital, our digital marketing services business, to the ongoing enhancements we're making to our all access content subscription model, we have fundamentally changed the composition of our company and the way in which we interact with consumers and businesses in our communities,” she said. “This enables us to strongly compete across a wide spectrum in today's digital media landscape.”

Digital segment operating revenues totaled $195.6 million, up 4.4% compared to $187.2 million in the fourth quarter in 2012.

Martore said strategic investments, coupled with increased advertising demand related to the Winter Olympics and elections, “position us extremely well for a terrific 2014."

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.