Newspapers' Leading Indicator: Gannett Profit, Circulation and Print Ad Revenue Fall

First Large Newspaper Owner to Report Results for Second Quarter

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Gannett Co., the owner of 82 newspapers as well as TV stations, reported second-quarter profit decreased 22 % as circulation and print advertising declined. The company also doubled its dividend. Net income dropped to $151.5 million, or 62 cents a share, from $195.5 million, or 81 cents, a year earlier, the McLean, Virginia-based company said today in a statement.

Excluding some items, earnings fell to 58 cents a share. Analysts had predicted 56 cents, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Gannett, whose newspapers include USA Today, is the first large newspaper owner to report its results for the quarter, making it an indicator of how the industry is faring. Publishing revenue, including advertising and circulation, declined 4.9% to $977.1 million. Digital revenue rose 13%.

Total revenue fell 2.2% to $1.33 billion, matching the average analysts' estimate.

Last month, Gannett Co. said it plans to cut about 700 jobs at its community-newspaper unit as it struggles with continuing weakness in local and national advertising.

The company also said today it will double its quarterly dividend to 8 cents a share and that it plans to buy back as much as $100 million of shares over the next 12 months. Gannett fell 47 cents to $13.01 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have lost 14% this year.

-- Bloomberg News --
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