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Gannett 3Q TV Revenues Dip for Lack of Games

McLEAN, VA.: Revenues for Gannett’s 23 TV stations generated $145.2 million in revenue for the third quarter, down nearly 25 percent from last year. TV revenues are folded into the broadcast segment, which includes the Captivate digital signage business. Captivate brought in an additional $6.3 million for a segment total of $151.5 million--down from $197 million last year, when the Olympics contributed around $50 million.

Gannett reported a threefold increase in retransmission revenues, to $14.3 million, which, along with Captivate, partially offset the absence of the Games and the continued weakness in the auto category.

Operating expenses for the broadcasting segment totaled $108.4 million, down 4. percent compared to $113 million a year ago. The decline was attributed to “efforts to control costs and create efficiencies.” Operating expenses excluding special items in both quarters were 8.9 percent lower. Operating cash flow was $58.5 million for 3Q09, down nearly 37 percent.

Gannett chief Craig Dubow, who returned to the helm last week after a medical leave, said improvement was evident in the broadcast division.

“Excluding Olympic and political ad spending, core revenue comparisons were better in the third quarter than the second quarter,” he said.

Gannett (NYSE: GCI) said that 4Q TV revenues are expected to come in at a similar year-over-year comparison.

“Based on current trends, we would expect the percentage decline in television revenues to be in the low 20s for the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the fourth quarter of 2008,” the company said in its earnings release. “This is due primarily to the absence of approximately $58.1 million of political ad revenue achieved in the fourth quarter of 2008.”

Consolidated revenues for Gannett’s broadcast, online, and print properties totaled $1.34 billion, down 18 percent from a year ago, but a better than the company’s forecast of $1.32 billion. Net income was $73.8 million--31 cents a share--compared to $158.1 million--69 cents a share--for 3Q08. Shares rose around 8 percent on the results, from around $13.46 to as high as $14 in late-morning trading.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

More on Gannett:
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March 23, 2009
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March 20, 2009: “Gannett Chief Takes a Pay Cut”
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January 30, 2009: “Gannett TV Station Revenue Holds Steady
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