Much higher retrans revenue of $14.3 million isn’t enough to counter weak automotive and retail advertising.
Gannett Co. today reported results for its second quarter. Broadcasting revenues were $153 million in the quarter compared to $192.6 million in the same quarter a year ago, a decrease of 20.6 percent.
Retransmission revenues totaled $14.3 million in the quarter, a three-fold increase. However, weakness in the important automotive and retail categories and a $2.9 million decline in politically related advertising more than offset the increases.
Operating expenses for the broadcasting segment were down 9.4 percent compared to the second quarter last year and totaled $102.7 million reflecting cost containment efforts including furloughs in the current quarter.
Excluding special items, operating expenses declined 12.9 percent. Operating cash flow was $59.9 million in the second quarter.
Television revenues totaled $148.4 million, down 19.7 percent.
The company said that based on current trends, it expects the percentage decline in television revenues to be in the mid-twenties for the third quarter of 2009 compared to the third quarter of 2008. This is due primarily to the absence of approximately $50 million of political and Olympic ad revenue achieved in the third quarter of 2008.
The company as a whole reported net operating revenue of $753 million, down 32% from the 2008 quarter’s $1.1 billion.
According to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Gracia Martore, “We continue to position the company for the eventual rebound in the economy and the evolving media landscape as we navigate through this unprecedented economic storm. The economic headwinds, which continued to constrain advertising demand, masked several important achievements in the quarter. In our digital segment, pro forma operating profits rose almost 84 percent. Total digital revenues across all of our segments were over $225 million. Retransmission revenues in our broadcasting segment rose three-fold partially offsetting weak auto advertising demand and lower political spending. In our publishing segment, while advertising revenue comparisons remain difficult, second quarter year-over- year comparisons improved versus first quarter comparisons and June was our best comparison month thus far this year.”