Friday, March 14, 2008

Live blogging: Dubow does Wall Street

Gannett executives, led by extremely well-compensated CEO Craig Dubow (left), are speaking today before Wall Street analysts, starting about 12:45 p.m. ET. I'm monitoring the New York event -- which GCI is webcasting from here -- and live-blogging details (assuming the technology works). Stay tuned! And note: All times shown will be Eastern.

1:52 p.m.: We're done. See ya later, alligators!

1:46 p.m.: Martore says the company is comfortable with current Wall Street earnings estimates -- although, apparently, on the lower end of the range. (I think.)

1:45 p.m.: Time for just one or two more questions!

1:36 p.m.: Chief Financial Officer Gracia Martore, I think, is speaking. "Lots of cyclical headwinds at play" in real-estate driven markets, like Arizona and Florida.

1:35 p.m.: Gannett shares have now traded as low as $27.90 this morning. 'Course, the stock markets are reeling over that Bear Stearns bailout.

1:29 p.m.: I'm having a little trouble distinguishing voices now. But it sure seems like Saridakis is dominating the event. Noted: Outgoing newspaper division Chair Sue Clark-Johnson apparently is a no-show.

1:24 p.m.: Question: What about those circulation numbers mentioned in today's monthly statistical report? The questioner refers to some sort of 4% decline. (I missed that.) Dickey, now talking, references pricing pressures.

1:19 p.m.: Dubow is inviting questions from the audience. Responding to one, Saridakis is talking up Gannett's high school sports website investment; can't recall the exact name.

1:18 p.m.: I just checked the Dow Jones industrial average. Gannett picked a helluva day to talk to analysts!

1:15 p.m.: "We aggregate eyeballs,'' he says. (Snarky question: Does Dubow know what that means?)

1:11 p.m.: Sounds like he's wrapping up. And not a moment too soon. Whoops: head fake.

1:03 p.m.: Saridakis is speaking now. At 39, he's the youngest member of Gannett's powerful management committee. Oy: He just said "monetizing eyeballs'' -- or something close to that. Reality check; he says advertising is still critical!

12:55 p.m.: Dubow says Gannett is right-sizing! Customer-service call centers are all moving along, he adds. (Except, last weekend, in Louisville!)

12:52 p.m.: Strategic plan, blah, blah, blah. Aggressively moving forward with digital strategy, yada yada yada.

12:48 p.m.: Politically interesting! Relatively new Chief Digital Officer Chris Saridakis is going to speak today. Also, Dubow just said: Newly named newspaper division President Robert Dickey is "the right person at the right time.''

12:46 p.m.: We're starting! Dubow is speaking now. Noted: first use of the words "transform" and "transformation."

12:42 p.m.: Welcome, all you new readers, BTW. Romenesko is sending lots of traffic my way today.

12:39 p.m.: No visuals, so we're listening to soothing (?) music. Who picks these tracks, anyway? Yikes: It's Gannett Corporate Radio! How lame!


  1. 1:14 p.m.: We should have started a buzzword bingo contest for Saridakis' presentation. He's used every geek favorite -- and some of them several times -- except "paradigm shift." He sounds as shallow as most if the Gannett online execs I've dealt with in the last 10 years.

    BTW, why the hell has this guy mentioned elevator advertising twice in 10 minutes? It will nevr ever be more than 0.0000000000001 percent of Gannett revenue.

    No way this guy just impressed the analysts. No freaking way.

  2. Sad. I don't know Dubow...but I hear that he speaks about topics in circles...with lots of sophmoric nuances. Time for a straight-shooter...honest, factual, get to the point. The media folks are not dummies.

    Headwinds...try downsizing on for size.

    Sue was off planning the party. Shall we have bacon-wrapped scallops too? Neuharth would approve.

    Stock down $2.00...timing, 90% of success.

  3. I think Saridakis rallied a little during the Q&A but he didn't knock my socks off either. It's a pretty dubious claim for him to say we're better positioned in New Media strategies than our competitors are. Washington Post and News. Corp., for two, are several kilometers ahead.

    As for Gracie and Dubow, one simple message: It's NOT the economy, stupid. Quit trying to frame Gannett's problems as largely economy-related.

    Print circulation is deteriorating, and only a small portion of that can be attributed to the economy. Every segment of business and industry struggled for two years post-9/11, but just about everyone managed to string together three of four solid years before we went recession-bound late last summer.

    The newspaper industry has not been adapting and evolving to address changing lifestyles as quickly as it needs to.

  4. Um, yeah, it's so not the economy.

  5. Here's the main problem: The old newspaper industry delivered mass audiences to mass advertisers.
    Gannett and many old media companies are still trying to do the same thing, except online instead of print.
    The online winners of the world are delivering specific advertisers to specific customers.
    You may remember Wannamaker's dictum: 50 percent of all advertising is wasted.
    The search-and-deliver online model is increasing revenue per advertising dollar. The old model is not and the stock price reflects that.

  6. You want price pressure? I'll give you price pressure.
    A businesswoman and her family moved to our area. They subscribed to the paper under a deal that gave them the Sunday paper for free if they bought Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
    After a few weeks they called and said they wanted the rest of the week. The service rep said great, but if you pay for the first part of the week you will lose the free Sunday.
    She passed.
    A few weeks went by and she got a letter offering a 13-week free trial for the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday papers without losing the free Sunday.
    So, she was willing to pay and the company said no thanks. Take it for free.
    Now that's price pressure.

  7. So, what will be different tomorrow? Nothing. But they all hang onto their compensation...and spin their tales and weave the web.

    After you've pissed off advertising clients for years and now expect loyalty. Realtors and auto accounts are gone...happily.

    Business is not coming street sense never prevailed. Suckups to corporate greed.

    Those corporate eyecharts are worthless now.

  8. "We aggregate eyeballs''. What year is it? 2000?

  9. I actually think Saridakis did a good job. Certainly he is different (read: refreshing) from the rest of this management team. He is also a pretty successful business guy and if you listen to his pitch, it is all about making this company money. What is wrong with that? It is interesting that he was the main presenter and not the new paper guy. It shows you the attention the executive team is giving digital initiative.

  10. The question not being answered here is:
    Will this presentation change any Wall Street minds about Gannett? Will they write/express something positive about digitizing eyeballs or aggregating whatever there is to aggregate? Will the stock price go up?

    Probably not ...

  11. I agree with 12:58...Saridakis was good. He definitely knows his stuff. He does not seem like the type to get put off by the wall street analysts.

    When you have that many millions of dollars, you can probably say what you want. Especially when you made those dollars building digital businesses.
    As for 12:29, we might as well be in year 2000 with the way our digital business has evolved. I think we do spend too much time thinking and acting locally. I liked the fact that he appreciates our "core" assets as he presented quite clearly.

  12. I wonder what all the other Gannett executives think about the new digital kid taking the spotlight? Seems like their ego's are so big they must be reeling.

    I do have to say that I was skeptical about Saradakis, but after listening to the presentation today, I think he is a straight up guy and sounds like he knows what he is talking about.

    I am surprised that Moon was not presenting or even Dickey. Afterall, Dickey is the "right 'guy' at the right time". And what time is that Mr. Dubow? How do I get on that clock? Does he get overtime?


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