Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Live blogging: UBS Global Media Conference

Gannett executives, led by CEO Craig Dubow (left), are speaking to Wall Street analysts about the company's strategic direction starting at 10 this morning, at the UBS Investment Bank 35th Annual Global Media Conference. I'll be watching the New York event by webcast, and blogging live on details (assuming the technology works!).

10:55 a.m.: We're done. My goodness, that was uninformative!

10:53: Dubow is now taking questions from the audience. But there's only 90 seconds available!

10:52: The advertising climate continues to be "challenging." The sub-prime mess, tightening credit and their impact on consumer spending "are a matter of some debate and considerable uncertainty,'' Martore says. On the positive side: GCI is well-positioned to take advantage of the Summer Olympics in Bejing and U.S. election spending. But, she says of 2008: "Visibility is very limited'' on advertising revenue. GCI expects revenue trends for at least the first few months of the year will be in line with current trends. "I assure you that we are working diligently to make sure our cost structure matches revenue opportunities.'' Translation: the job cuts will continue!

10:43: Now up at the microphone in this so-far deadly dull media conference: CFO Gracia Martore. At the risk of stating the obvious, there's been no big news announced -- i.e., splitting the company into different entities -- so far.

10:40: GCI is "aggressively transforming" its TV stations, adding more technology, and working on creating more content. "Putting more boots on the street,'' he says. But at no additional cost! Way to trumpet that expense control, Lougee!

10:36: Dave Lougee, President of the Broadcasting Division, is talking now.

10:34: Lots of talk about different advertising revenue segments; I'm having trouble keeping up. Tech revenue advertising is trending down, Moon says. Finance and insurance will be flat. Overall, advertising "visibility" for 2008 remains "very limited.'' Hmmm; I'll bet!

10:27: USA Today Publisher Craig Moon is now speaking. He references the recent 1% gain the paper reported in circulation -- one in a string of such gains. "This is an incredible accomplishment as we continue to grow volume,'' he says. Side note: He sounds nervous.

10:25: But, she says, Arizona, California and Florida newspapers like the Pensacola News Journal (left) are still sucking wind because of turmoil there in the real estate industry.

10:18: Clark-Johnson is now trumpeting successes at The Arizona Republic in Phoenix around bolstering entertainment coverage there to attract younger readers. (I'm not surprised she's lauding Phoenix, since she was publisher there before moving to Corporate.) "Of course, we're going to replicate that success elsewhere,'' she promises. Or maybe that's a threat?

10:13: News Division President Sue Clark-Johnson is now at the microphone. "Needless to say, the sub-prime meltdown'' has put a damper on revenue growth efforts. "Readership is up, and online'' is showing gains.

10:12: Dubow is showing the audience a video with lots of high-energy music. But we can't see it on the webcast; we've only got audio. Losers! Arrgh!

10:05: Video is "leaping off the page'' at Gannett websites, and traffic is surging, he says. "More important, we are monetizing that traffic,'' Dubow says. (Really? Then how come online revenue growth at U.S. newspapers is slowing?)

Update 10 a.m.: The conference has begun. Dubow is the first speaker; it's gonna be audio only -- no video stream. A year ago, he says, GCI promised big changes. "We are delivering on that promise of transformative changes. We couldn't have foreseen all that has happened, particularly in the economy," he says. "We knew the transition would be difficult. . . . What's key: We knew that these changes had to happen.''

[Images: Dubow, Gannett; this morning's Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, Newseum]


  1. "In all, it’s been an exciting and challenging year at Gannett."

    Stop, there has been a terrible mistake. This actually originated from someone living in a sterile bubble on Uranus and due to unusual sunspot activity ended up as a key quote in the annual Gannett meeting.


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