The results were ugly, but no worse than analysts already forecast. Net income attributable to Gannett came in at $99.8M, down 1.6% vs last year’s 3Q, on revenues of $1.26B, down 3.5%. Excluding special one-time charges, earnings came in at 44 cents a share, matching the Street consensus. The nation’s largest newspaper publisher, with 83 dailies, blamed a “lackluster economic environment” for the 5.3% drop in publishing revenues, at $917.8M. Newspaper ad sales in the U.S. fell 9.3% — including a 20.1% drop in real estate ads. Revenues for the broadcast unit, with 23 TV stations, fell 5.9% to $174.3M, but the decline is due in part to the fact that this isn’t a major election year. Gannett stations collected $21.3M in political ads in last year’s 3Q. The company says that — excluding the impact from political ads — it expects TV revenues to “increase in the very high single digits” in the fourth quarter. While its traditional media businesses struggle, Gannett is placing a lot of chips on its digital businesses. Revenues there were up 10.3% to $173.9M. “I’m convinced we have the right strategy and team in place to continue to remake Gannett in the digital age,” says CEO Gracia Martore — who recently replaced Craig Dubow, who resigned for health reasons.
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