At Mid-Year Review, Gannett Claims 'Strong Progress' In Transforming Itself

By: E&P Staff Gannett Co. Inc. offered its presentation for analysts today at the Mid-Year Media Review in New York City. Chairman, President, and CEO Craig Dubow said, ?Gannett has made solid progress in transforming itself in a very short time. That is a difficult thing to do, and doubly hard in the face of softer regional economies in some of our markets.

?However, we believe the changing media landscape and new consumer behaviors are creating great opportunities. Gannett is clearly positioning itself to take full advantage of these opportunities.?

An excerpt from the company's statement follows.


While key advertising segments, such as real estate and auto, remain soft, there are important positives as well, Dubow said. These include growth in our digital revenues; a firmer ad environment in the UK; and progress on several strategic initiatives that are showing strong results in their early stages.

Sue Clark-Johnson, president of the Newspaper Division, said the Information Center initiative, coupled with restructured advertising departments and sales training, is changing forever the way our community newspapers operate. ?A direct reflection of the Information Center focus on local content is that we?re beginning to see improved reader satisfaction.?

Also, strong efforts to monetize the products produced by the Information Center are being enhanced by increased Web traffic. Niche sites, databases and video streams are seeing positive results, she said.

Craig Moon, president and publisher of USA TODAY, said the newspaper ?is a true success story? as it approaches its 25th anniversary. It?s the largest newspaper in the country and has expanded to a number of platforms in the digital space, including the popular with more than 11 million unique monthly visits, according to Hitwise.

While the second quarter rebounded from the first ? just as it did last year, Moon said ? the quarter will lag last year?s results. Softness in auto accounted for most of the shortfall, while travel, technology, telecommunications and retail are showing increases.

Softness in auto and retail also affected Broadcast, as well as significantly lower political revenues. However, digital, new business and Captivate were positives. Although we are well positioned in our markets, overcoming the absence of $77 million in political advertising in the second half of the year will be a challenge, Dubow said.

Gracia Martore, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said Newsquest registered 11 percent NIBT growth in pounds year-to-date and will continue to benefit from its restructuring efforts as key economic sectors stabilize.

Martore also said Gannett expected earnings per share for the second quarter of 2007 to be in line with the First Call consensus of estimates.


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