Gannett TV Station Revenues Drop 16 Percent

Super Bowl helps offset 1Q09 decline
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McLEAN, VA.: Gannett’s 23 TV stations generated positive cash flow for the struggling media company in 1Q09. Operating cash flow was $52.7 million in 1Q09 for the stations. (Broadcast results include the company’s digital signage business.) Broadcasting revenues totaled $143.5 million in the quarter compared to $170.2 million in 1Q08. The decline was attributed to weakness in the auto and retail ad categories, and the disappearance of political advertising, which generated $5 million during the year-earlier period. There was some offset by retransmission revenues, Super Bowl advertising and online revenues, the company said.

Revenue for just the TV stations was $139.6 million, down nearly 15 percent. Gannett said based on current trends, 2Q revenues would also decline in the high teens compared to the previous year.

First-quarter revenues for the combined Gannett media properties fell nearly 18 percent, from $1.68 billion last year to $1.38 billion this year. Net income was off by 60 percent, from $192 million last year to $77 million this year.