Despite a three-fold increase in retransmission revenues to $14.3 million, revenue from stations dropped to $145.2 million.
Gannett Co. Inc. reported today that 2009 third quarter television revenues were down 24.7 percent to $145.2 million. Based on current trends, we would expect the percentage decline in television revenues to be in the low twenties for the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. This is due primarily to the absence of approximately $58.1 million of political ad revenue achieved in the fourth quarter of 2008.
The company said a three-fold increase in retransmission revenues to $14.3 million and solid revenue growth from Captivate partially offset the absence of Olympic and election ad spending and continued weakness in the automobile category.
Operating expenses for the broadcasting segment totaled $108.4 million in the third quarter of 2009 compared to $113.0 million a year ago. The 4.1 percent decline was due primarily to efforts to control costs and create efficiencies. Operating expenses excluding special items in both quarters were 8.9 percent lower. Operating cash flow was $58.5 million in the quarter.
For the company as a whole, Gannett said, “Total reported operating revenues for the company were $1.3 billion in the third quarter compared to $1.6 billion in the third quarter of 2008. Digital segment revenues were 84.2 percent higher driven by the consolidation of CareerBuilder for the full quarter in 2009. On a pro forma basis, total revenue comparisons year-over-year in the third quarter, while down, improved relative to year-over-year comparisons for the first quarter and the second quarter.
Craig Dubow, Gannett chairman, president and chief executive officer, said “We finished the quarter on a stronger note with better than anticipated results due primarily to better trends in advertising and greater efficiencies across all of our business segments. Our results for the quarter exceeded the high end of previously announced estimate ranges for revenue, operating cash flow, and earnings per share.”