3 Publishers Report Lower Ad Revenues

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(AP) Three major newspaper publishers, Gannett Co. Inc., Tribune Co., and Knight Ridder, reported lower advertising revenues for January on Friday. Knight Ridder also warned investors that its first-quarter profits would be at the low end of analysts’ expectations.

Knight Ridder, whose 32 daily newspapers include the San Jose Mercury News and The Philadelphia Inquirer, reported that operating revenue fell 11% in January compared to the same month a year ago, and advertising revenue fell 13%.

Tony Ridder, Knight Ridder’s chief executive, said in a statement that the company’s first-quarter earnings would be closer to the low end of analysts’ estimates, which currently range between 52 cents and 70 cents per share as measured by Thomson Financial/First Call. Knight Ridder’s shares fell 66 cents to $66.54 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, reported a 6% decline in overall operating revenues in January. Newspaper advertising revenues fell 8% and television revenues fell 2%.

Advertising revenues at Gannett’s flagship newspaper, USA Today, fell 22% as travel advertising continued to be “particularly hard hit,” the company said in a statement.

Tribune Co. reported a decline of 7% in total revenues in January, and an 8% decline in newspaper advertising revenues. Revenues in Tribune’s broadcasting and entertainment group fell 5%.

Earlier this week The New York Times Co. reported that January advertising revenues fell 14%, and the company also said it expects first-quarter earnings to come in at the low end of analysts’ forecasts.

Last week Dow Jones & Co. reported that advertising linage at The Wall Street Journal fell 33% in January compared with the same month a year ago.

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