With the Detroit Free Press publishing the No. 1 local news site in the city, news-producing affiliates WDIV (NBC), WXYZ (ABC) and WJBK (Fox) are investing heavily in their digital platforms to secure core audiences while drawing newcomers. “We are trying to be the No. 1 sites, and we are trying to figure out what the secret sauce is to do that,” says Catherine Badalamente, VP of digital media for Graham Media, which owns WDIV. “That is 100% of my goal.”
The separation of the broadcast and print properties is expected to be completed June 29, at which point the new Tegna broadcasting/digital company and the new Gannett will begin trading independently.
Retrans was the big driver, climbing 26% to $110 million and offset a 2% drop in core and much lower political.
Gannett-owned Texas Cable News — TXCN — will cease operations on April 1 after providing TV viewers across the state with around-the-clock news, weather and sports for more than 16 years. TXCN currently replays news broadcasts from Gannett’s network of Texas TV stations, including WFAA Dallas-Fort Worth; KHOU Houston; KVUE Austin; and KENS San Antonio.
Station acquisitions drive up broadcasting revenue, but even on a same-station basis the gains are strong, helped by political, retrans and digital.
Activist investor Carl Icahn said he will seek two seats on Gannett’s board of directors, threatening a proxy fight for more influence over the media company’s plan to spin off its publishing division from its TV stations and digital assets this summer.
The former CFO of A.H. Belo will now report to Gannett President Gracia Martore.
The 105% increase to $416 million comes from the purchases of Belo and London Broadcasting stations. Minus those deals, revenue rose 19%, driven mostly by higher retransmission consent money.
The former WXIA Atlanta news director will now work with Michael Valentine in leading news efforts at Gannett Broadcasting’s 46 stations.
Carl Icahn, who disclosed a new activist stake in Gannett Co., had planned to mount a campaign to separate the company’s print and broadcasting businesses before Gannett beat him to it. He still wants to talk with management.
The split will allow Gannett to avoid FCC newspaper-broadcast crossownership restrictions, enabling it to take advantage of acquisition opportunities in each sector. “It was difficult to look at certain acquisition opportunities we found attractive because of crossownership prohibitions,” Gannett CEO Gracia Martore told investors and analysts.
Gannett Co. today announced its plan to create two publicly traded companies — one exclusively focused on its broadcasting and digital businesses, and the other on its publishing business. Gannett has also signed a definitive agreement to acquire full ownership of Cars.com. Under the agreement, Gannett will acquire the 73% interest it does not already own in Classified Ventures LLC, which owns Cars.com, for $1.8 billion in cash.
The $215 million deal for six stations extends Gannett’s Texas coverage to 83% of the state’s households.
The sale of KTVK and KASW to Meredith Corp. was part of a deal announced last December that also included KMOV St. Louis.
Factoring out contributions from the Belo acquisition, core is up 6.5%, while retrans grows 66.4% and digital rises 23%.
The $177 million purchase of the CBS affiliate from Gannett and Sander Media closes following the receipt of regulatory approvals.
The revenue drop is due to political ad comparisons from a year ago. Factor that out and TV rev was up 23.4%. In addition, retrans jumped 31.5%.
After doubling down on broadcast stations, Gannett Co. could create even more value for shareholders by joining a long line of media companies splitting publishing from television in recent years. The owner of USA Today has rallied 42% since saying last year it was adding to its TV assets with the purchase of Belo Corp. The $6.4 billion company would be worth even more if it separated the publishing and broadcasting divisions, Gabelli & Co. says.
The combination means the company’s broadcast division reaches nearly one-third of all U.S. households.
For $407.5 million, Meredith is getting KMOV St. Louis and KTVK-KASW Phoenix that Gannett is acquiring in its purchase of Belo Corp.
The commission on Friday gave the green light to the $1.5 billion Gannett buy of Belo’s 20 stations (minus KMOV St. Louis, which it is spinning off) as well as the $2.7 billion purchase by Tribune Co. of Local TV LLC’s 16 stations. Gannett says it expects to close its deal next week.
Gannett Co. can move ahead with its purchase of Belo Corp. as long as the deal does not include CBS affiliate KMOV St. Louis, antitrust enforcers at the U.S. Justice Department said today.
Despite Gannett’s plans to close its $1.3 billion acquisition of Belo’s 20 TV stations by the end of this year, the deal is unlikely to gain regulatory approval any sooner than the first quarter of 2014. The shutdown of the federal government delayed regulators’ examination of the transaction, particularly at the FCC, where the deal raises some contentious media policy issues. Not only did the shutdown delay the FCC staffers’ review of the transaction but it delayed the return of the commission to its full five-member complement.
But when political and Olympic spending are factored out, that translates into a 13.6% increase. In addition, retrans revenue grew 62.8%, for a total of $198.5 million in TV revenue.
Gannett Co. today named Judy Vogel vice president of research. At Gannett, Vogel will be responsible for leading corporate research through the design and execution of primary and secondary research addressing advertising sales, digital, editorial and brand strategy. Vogel comes to Gannett from Media Storm, LLC, where she was managing director of insights and analytics. […]
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that investor opposition to the terms of Gannett’s $1.5 billion takeover offer for TV station-owner Belo is intensifying, two weeks before Belo shareholders are due to vote. WSJ subscribers can read the full story here.
For TV broadcasters, newspapers and radio stations, a truly cross-platform CMS that can easily cross over legacy lines and integrate disparate systems and workflows is the grail. A future in which media companies become multimedia organizations may be closer than some think. “Those barriers are coming down,” says WorldNow’s Craig Smith. “The industry needs to break down those barriers.” Part three of a three-part special report. Read the full report here.
Local newspapers and broadcasters today are seeking content management systems that are faster and more complex than ever before. And while vendors are constantly developing new products to keep up with evolving demands, the industry is facing contraction. “There are just too many players, and nobody is really big enough to have any control,” says Internet Broadcasting’s Elmer Baldwin. “There are some that just aren’t going to survive.” Part two of a three-part special report. Read part one here
Content management systems serving the local media industry have taken a quantum leap forward, and choosing the right CMS has become more complicated than ever. Media companies have some difficult choices: select a system from a vendor, build one in-house or use an open-source system. Ron Stitt, VP of digital media at Fox Television Stations: “The pace of development is still constantly accelerating, and the landscape is incredibly complex when you factor in not just the front end but also the underlying platforms, devices, operating systems, display formats, distribution schemes and advertising/tracking requirements.” Part one of a three-part special report. Read the full report here.
That core revenue, combined with a 62.3% rise in retrans money, drove total TV revenues up 3.6% to $204.8 million.
Here are two things you don’t see often in corporate mergers and acquisitions. Shares of Belo Corp., the Dallas-based owner of television stations, are trading for more than the takeover offer the company agreed to last month. And shares of the buyer, Gannett Co., have increased even more in value. The market is saying that Gannett got a much better deal than Belo did — so much so, that some investors buying Belo’s stock seem to hope that Gannett will raise its offer.
Newsrooms such as The Arizona Republic and the Dayton Daily News are among the growing group of media companies that are consolidating their reporting efforts for Web, print and TV. “The bottom line is for breaking news — get something back to digital right away,” says Cox Media Group Ohio’s Sean Dunster. After breaking the news online, these newsrooms produce longer pieces for print and TV. Part two of a four-part special report. Read part one here.
A 58.7% gain in retrans revenue and a 2.3% increase in core advertising revenues more than offset lower advertising associated with the move of the Super Bowl to the company’s six CBS stations from its 12 NBC stations and a decrease in political spending of $3.4 million.
The launch of USA Today in 1982 was Neuharth’s most visible undertaking during more than 15 years as chairman and CEO of the Gannett Co. During his helm, Gannett became the nation’s largest newspaper company and the company’s annual revenues increased from $200 million to more than $3 billion. Neuharth became CEO of the company in 1973 and chairman in 1979. He retired in 1989.
The growth was driven by $91.2 million in politically related advertising during the fourth quarter of 2012 and a 39% boost in retransmission revenues to $29.6. For the full year, broadcasting revenue is up 25.4%.
While the company’s emphasis at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference was on the strides it’s making in digital media, broadcast TV is a strong part of the business. When 2012 goes into the books, Dave Lougee, president of Gannett Broadcasting, says his group will have an all-time record year, with revenues up by a mid-20s percentage. “Political will finish at $150 million, digital will be up in the low double-digits and retrans for the year will be up in the low-20s above last year for the full year,” he said.
Political and Olympics ad increases are helped by higher retrans and digital revenue.
Kevin Lord today was named SVP and chief human resources officer of Gannett Co. Lord will join Gannett on Oct. 22. Lord joins Gannett from NBCUniversal, where he was EVP of human resources for NBC News. Lord also served as global HR transition leader for NBCUniversal, guiding the company’s human resources transition from General Electric to […]
Gannett, with its slew of NBC stations benefiting from Olympic ad sales, took out a full-page ad in its own USA Today newspaper Monday congratulating NBC on its strong ratings and other accolades during the London Games. “Extraordinary storytelling … Innovative viewer engagement … Record-setting broadcasts,” the ad read, saying “from your friends at Gannett.”