Newspaper Giant Gannett's 2003 Earnings Up 3.5%

04 February 2004

Gannett Company, America's largest newspaper and broadcast group, yesterday reported full year earnings up 3.5% on 2002.

Among the group's nine hundred-plus titles, flagship national daily newspaper USA Today and Newsquest, Gannet's UK business, were singled out as prime performers -- both benefiting from robust demand for classified and display advertising.

However, the executive trinity that runs the group as chairman, president and chief executive -- all by coincidence christened Doug McCorkindale -- warned that 2004's first half could be "subdued" and "uneven".

"We're being told by a number of advertisers that they have the money to spend . . . we're optimistic that 2004 will be better than 2003," McCorkindale said. "[But] it's going to be month-to-month. All the pieces are not yet coming together."

In the final quarter of 2003, revenues rose 6% year-on-year to $1.8 billion (€1.43bn; £0.98bn), lifting the full year total to $6.7bn, 4% up on 2002. Full-year earnings were up 3.5% to $4.46 per share.

But growth was scant at Gannett's twenty-two local TV stations; also within certain categories of print advertising. All posted substandard revenue headway.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff