February 10, 2014

Gannett takes a tumble (updated)

Sure, part of the newspaper giant's 12-percent drop in fourth-quarter 2013 advertising versus the year before is due to no political ads, but not all of it.

That said, this could be glass half full/glass half empty news:
Excluding the effects of the extra week in 2012's fourth quarter, publishing revenue fell 5 percent to $944.3 million on lower advertising. Meanwhile, revenue at the company's broadcast division fell 16 percent to $228.2 million, largely due to the drop in political advertising.
Maybe the drip, drip, drip of declining print ad revenues is stabilizing. Allow for the political ads dropoff (though Gannett had some ads from Virginia odd-year elections) and other advertising may have been nearly stable.  Small consolation, but something.

Flip side? Are broadcast TV stations becoming more and more dependent on political ad revenue?

Update, Feb. 10: Ryan Chittum of CJR has more on why Gannett took a tumble. He notes that, in its newspaper division, its aggressive use of paywalls is like putting lipstick on a pig. And, will we be able to say the same about CNHI someday?

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