September Ad Surge Boosts US Media Firms

16 October 2003

Healthy September ad sales have boosted the bottom lines of two big American newspaper groups.

Gannett – publisher of leading stateside daily USA Today – revealed that newspaper ad revenues last month jumped 5% year-on-year, helping to push its third-quarter income up 5% to $279 million (€240.0m; £167.5m).

Meanwhile, Dow Jones reported a 29.4% surge in September ad lineage at its flagship title the Wall Street Journal. The company's Q3 income (excluding exceptional items) jumped almost fourfold in Q3 to $9m.

News of the strong September ad sales raised hopes that the long-suffering publishing sector may be on the mend. However, executives at both firms urged caution.

"We're more optimistic than we were," declared Gannett chairman/ceo Douglas McCorkindale, "but it's simply too early to tell."

Gannett's classified ad revenues remain poor due to a downturn in recruitment listings, while growth in local advertising is slow. However, national ad income jumped 7% last month as the auto, telecoms and travel sectors hiked spend.

McCorkindale's caution was echoed by Dow Jones chairman/ceo Peter Kann, who commented: "We're not ready to call an end to this severe B2B ad recession."

Despite a rise in revenues at both the US and the international editions of the Journal, the company's print division still made an operating loss of $11.5m.

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