Gannett Executives Present to the Media and Entertainment Analysts of New York
NEW YORK, NY – Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI) Chairman, President and CEO Douglas H. McCorkindale and other Gannett executives today reported on the company’s performance to date in 2003 and the outlook for the remainder of the first quarter at a presentation to the Media and Entertainment Analysts of New York.
McCorkindale said the company is comfortable with most First Call estimates of 94 cents to 96 cents per diluted share for the first quarter. However, he said, the company is cautious due to the uncertainty surrounding the situation in Iraq.
“Our February numbers were solid, despite tougher comparisons, but March is more of a challenge” due to the subdued and cloudy advertising environment, McCorkindale said. In the U.K., he added, Newsquest’s year-to-date operating profit in pounds is up in the high single digits despite softer ad revenues.
Gary Watson, president of the Newspaper Division, said: “We begin the year with the basic fundamentals in place for a period of modest growth in most advertising categories” although unease over events involving Iraq has grown in the past three weeks. Retail and national are up, while classified is mixed, he said.
Watson said trends to note are the continuing shift from ROP to preprint advertising and the strong revenue growth for online and non-daily publications. YES, a weekly section of The Arizona Republic aimed at young women, is profitable after five months, for example, he said.
Craig Dubow, president and CEO of Gannett Broadcasting said: “Overall station performance in the first quarter has been very good,” despite difficult comparisons because of the absence of Winter Olympic-related advertising and geopolitical uncertainty. He noted the latest ratings book shows Gannett stations were #1 or #2 in late news in all 13 markets based on household ratings, and #1 or #2 in morning news in 12 of the 13 markets. “Our solid revenue results are directly tied to our ratings performance,” Dubow said.
Tom Curley, president and publisher of USA TODAY, said that ad revenues are up through February. “The national print market has momentum,” Curley said, while noting the Iraq situation may affect that. Revenues at USATODAY.com continue to grow as “internet advertising is back to being an integral part of communications strategies,” Curley said.
The Webcast of the presentation will be available under “On the Street” at www.gannett.com through March 24, 2003.
Also, the company said it began distributing the Annual Report for 2002 and the 2003 proxy statement to shareholders today. Both the annual report and the proxy statement will be available on its Web site, www.gannett.com.
To access the documents, look under “Investor Relations” and click on annual reports or proxy statement.
Gannett Co., Inc. is a leading international news and information company that publishes 94 daily newspapers in the USA, including USA TODAY, the nation’s largest-selling daily newspaper. The company also owns in excess of 400 non-daily publications in the USA and USA WEEKEND, a weekly newspaper magazine. Gannett subsidiary Newsquest is the United Kingdom’s second largest regional newspaper company. Newsquest publishes more than 300 titles, including 15 daily newspapers, and a network of prize-winning Web sites. Gannett also operates 22 television stations in the United States and is an Internet leader with sites sponsored by its TV stations and newspapers including USATODAY.com, one of the most popular news sites on the web.
Certain statements in this press release may be forward looking in nature or “forward looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward looking statements contained in this press release are subject to a number of risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual performance to differ materially from these forward looking statements. A number of those risks, trends and uncertainties are discussed in the company’s SEC reports, including the company’s annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Any forward looking statements in this press release should be evaluated in light of these important risk factors.
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