Gannett (NYSE:GCI) is a media company that publishes USA Today, the nation's largest newspaper by circulation, along with 101 other daily newspapers in the US and UK. Although the company owns various Web sites and 23 television stations, newspaper advertising accounted for two-thirds of its revenue in 2007.
Gannett's circulation numbers and attendant advertising revenues have been declining - a trend shared by many of the company's competitors, who are losing ad dollars to the internet and other media. Classified ads, which made up 40% of Gannett's print advertising revenues in 2007, are at particular risk from online job boards and websites such as Craigslist. Gannett's advertising revenues declined 6% from 2006 to 2007, while internet advertising grew at double digit percentage during the same period. Additionally, GCI's print advertising decreased 22.7% during Q4 2008 because of slumping advertising demand amidst the economic downturn as well as the shift of advertisers to the Internet.
In an attempt to capitalize on internet advertising revenue, Gannett has built websites for its publications, and has acquired, built, or partnered with a number of websites. In 2006, Gannett generated over $400 million in revenue from online ad sales, nearly twice the online revenues of The New York Times Company (NYT) and Dow Jones (DJ). However, Gannett is a much larger company, and these online sales represent only 5% of its total revenue, compared to 10% and 8% for Dow Jones and The New York Times.
Despite Gannett's national footprint, most of the company's advertising revenue is local, and therefore subject to local economic conditions in the markets in which Gannett operates. In 2007, local and classified advertising made up 84% of Gannett's total print advertising revenues.
Gannett is a media conglomerate that operates three businesses: publishing, digital, and broadcasting. GCI's publishing division, which includes its primary USA Today newspaper, is the company's largest segment in terms of revenue as it accounts for 84.4% of the company's 2008 revenue. In 2008, GCI earned $6.8 billion in revenue.
Gannett is the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S. by circulation. GCI publishes 85 daily newspapers including its flaghship USA Today and about 850 non-daily publications as well as affiliated websites. GCI also owns publication operations in the United Kingdom, with 17 daily newspapers and more than 200 weekly publications. The company's U.S. publications reach about 14 million readers every weekday and 12.6 million readers every Sunday, with the USA Today reaching about 2.25 million readers daily.
The publishing segment depends greatly on advertising revenues to run its businesses- advertising represented 73% of the segment's 2008 revenue. GCI's publications also earn revenue through circuIation fees and commercial printing. 2008, GCI's publications division earned $5.7 billion in revenue, a 13% drop from 2007, primarily because of a 16% drop in advertising sales in 2008. Moving forward, the company expects that its publication revenues will be further threatened by the global recession in 2009 as advertisers continue to slash advertising expenditures.
In 2008, GCI created its digital segment, which includes its online businesses like CareerBuilder.com and ShopLocal. CareerBuilder.com is primarily based in North America- the website is the largest online recruitment and career advancement source for employees, recruiters, and job seekers. GCI's digital segment earned $281 million in revenue in 2008. In 2009, the company expects its digital business to grow following expansion of its CareerBuilder.com website to Europe and Asia.
GCI's broadcasting segment includes 23 television stations and affiliated websites in markets with a total of 20.8 million households reaching 18% of the U.S. population. Like its other segments, GCI's broadcasting business earns revenue primarily through advertising sales. In 2008, the broadcasting segment earned $773 million in revenue, a 2% decrease from a year earlier because of drops in advertising sales. However, the segment's online revenues increased by 13% in 2008 as the company attempts to transition its television broadcasting to the Internet. In 2009, GCI expects its broadcasting revenue to decline further because of a weakening advertising market.
Gannett earned $6.8 billion in revenue in 2008, representing a 9% drop from 2007 because of weaker performance in its publishing and broadcasting divisions. In particular, GCI's publishing segment decreased 13% in revenue in 2008 because of declines in advertising sales associated with the global economic crisis.
GCI incurred operating expenses of $13.5 billion in 2008 primarily because one-time non-cash imparirment charges of $8.35 billion regarding some of the company's publications. Operating expenses excluding the non-impairment charges declined 3% in 2008 representing lower newsprint expenses. As a result of the non-cash impairment charges, GCI reported a net loss of $6.65 billion in 2008. However, apart from these one-time costs, the company's net income still would have declined 27% during the year because of slumping revenues in its publishing and broadcasting divisions.
Gannet generates most of its revenue from advertising, which includes both print and online channels. For example, in 2008, GCI earned 73% of its publishing revenue from advertising sales. Like most newspaper companies, Gannett has suffered declines in print advertising revenue due in large part to the increasing popularity of the Internet and online advertising. Gannett has responded to the challenges of the print industry by increasing its own online presence, but is still failing to stem its decreases in advertising sales in its publishing and broadcasting businesses.
Several areas of print advertising have been particularly affected by economic conditions and the shift towards the Internet. GCI's publications rely primarily on automotive, retail, and classified advertising to earn revenue. In 2008, retail and classified advertising sales fell by 10% and 25%, respectively. As a result, advertising revenue dropped 16% overall in the publishing segment. Furthermore, Gannett's broadcasting revenue fell by 2% in 2008 because of slumping advertising expenditures. Moving forward, GCI expects that its publishing segment will be hit hard in 2009 as advertisers continue to cut their advertising expenditures because of the global recession.
Gannett has worked to increase its online competitiveness and created the Gannett Digital group in 2006 to focus on these efforts. Its online initiatives have focused around developing Web sites for its existing newspapers and television networks. In theory, the company will be able to leverage its existing user base while gaining a better understanding of its audience through registration and measuring behavior online. The number of visitors to GCI's websites rose 6.2% and revenues from online advertisements grew 72% in 2008 as the company seeks to expand its online presence.
Though the age of the Internet has diminished the importance of the circulation of print newspapers, it nevertheless remains an essential factor to newspapers’ profitability. This includes both newspapers sold on newsstands as well as subscriptions. USA Today is the paid newspaper with the largest circulation in the country and Gannett has the highest total circulation numbers of any newspaper company, averaging about 6.6 million in daily paid circulation.
Similar to the decline in advertising, Gannett has suffered from ongoing decreases in circulation as readers transition to the Internet for their news. In 2008 for example, GCI's newspaper circulation revenue declined by $36 million, or 3% from 2007. Excluding sales of its flagship USA Today newspaper, circulation revenue decreased 6% during 2008.
Newsprint prices are a significant cost for any newspaper, and consolidation among suppliers has increased prices for newsprint - Gannett's newsprint prices went up 9% in 2008. Gannett has been more aggressive than its competitors to minimize these costs, however. In 2007, the company reduced the width of all but one of it presses, and the company says it plans additional page size reductions for 30 newspapers in 2008. Because of these measures, GCI reduced its consumption of newsprint by 16% in 2008, leading to an overall 9% decline in newsprint expenditures. In 2009, GCI expects slight decreases in newsprint prices which should ease the pressure on their publishing operations.
Gannett's competition is twofold: other newspapers chains, and increasingly, Internet websites. Gannett's national print competitors include New York Times Company (NYT)-publisher of the iconic namesake newspaper--and News Corporation (NWS)-publisher of the Wall Street Journal. It also competes with countless local newspapers such as the The Washington Post, and Hearst-Argyle Television (HTV)'s San Francisco Chronicle.
|Company||Total Revenue (Millions)||Advertising Revenue (Millions)||Average Weekday Circulation (Millions)|
|New York Times||$2,948.9||$1,759||1.03|
|News Corporation (NWS)||$32,996||$6,248 (Publishing Revenue)||1.7 (Wall Street Journal)|
|Gannett (GCI)||$6,767.7||$4,145.6||2.25 (USA Today)|