Gannett posted fourth-quarter net income of $347 million, up 13.6%, on $1.73 billion in revenue, up 7% from the same period a year ago. For the year, net income was up 39.6% to $1.16 billion and revenue rose 1.9% to $6.42 billion.
Better than expected
Better-than-expected ad revenue
USA Today also showed its first gains since 2000 in the fourth quarter -- a 2% increase in ad revenue -- and January lineage looks good, he said. But Mr. McCorkindale warned national advertising remains unstable and the first quarter and will be affected by comparisons to the year-ago period, when the paper benefited from Olympic-related advertising and advocacy ads for the merger of Compaq and Hewlett-Packard Co.
TV revenue up 27%
Gannett's TV stations also posted strong numbers in the fourth quarter, with a 27% increase in revenue, thanks to record spending in political advertising, Mr. McCorkindale said. The stations' first-quarter sales are pacing up in the single digits in January, down in the teens in February -- due to Olympic comparisons -- and up in the high teens in March, he said.
While all the numbers are positive, Mr. McCorkindale noted that much will depend on whether there is a war in Iraq. He said some advertisers have mentioned concerns about advertising scheduled for late February and early March. But barring a war, the economy is poised to recover gradually, he said.
"We're seeing a positive trend, but a slow positive trend. It's not a 'V' recovery, it's a long 'L'," Mr. McCorkindale said. "I don't want to get too excited about it."