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Gannett TV Earnings Down 25% in Third Quarter

Gannett announced television revenue of $145.2 million for the third quarter, down 24.7% from the same quarter last year. Total broadcasting revenue, including Gannett's elevator programming Captivate outfit, was $151.5 million. That's down from $197 million in last year's third quarter, which included around $50 million in Olympics and election advertising.

Gannett cited a three-fold increase in retransmission revenues to $14.3 million and growth from Captivate as positives for the quarter.

Gannett envisions a similar story in the fourth quarter. "Based on current trends, we would expect the percentage decline in television revenues to be in the low twenties for the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the fourth quarter of 2008," the company said in a statement. "This is due primarily to the absence of approximately $58.1 million of political ad revenue achieved in the fourth quarter of 2008."

Publishing at the media giant was slightly more favorable than television. Operating revenues were $1 billion for the third quarter, a 23.5% decline from the same quarter last year. Total reported operating revenues for Gannett were $1.3 billion in the third quarter, compared to $1.6 billion in 2008.

"We finished the quarter on a stronger note with better than anticipated results due primarily to better trends in advertising and greater efficiencies across all of our business segments," said Gannett Chairman/President/CEO Craig Dubow. "Our results for the quarter exceeded the high end of previously announced estimate ranges for revenue, operating cash flow, and earnings per share. Although recessions in the U.S. and UK continued to temper ad demand and revenue growth during the quarter, we are encouraged by the revenue trends."

Gannett tweaked its third-quarter forecast on Sept. 29 to reflect some bright spots on the economic horizon.