A year ago, as most of Gannett's newsrooms were adopting the new Information Center model, the company published its annual report to shareholders. The document, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, showed that online revenue at GCI's domestic newspapers had grown 24% in 2006 over 2005. That was about the same as the industry average, 23%, reported by the Newspaper Association of America trade group.
But in the following months, the trend within Gannett weakened, SEC documents show. By the end of the first quarter of 2007, the growth rate had fallen to 12%. It fell still more, to 11%, by the end of the third quarter -- about half the industry average for the time, NAA data show.
So, last week, with the new (.pdf!) 2007 Annual Report in hand, I looked for Gannett's year-end rate. I expected it would be near that weak 11% figure. But all I found was this, in the section on newspaper website traffic trends: "Solid revenue growth was also achieved."
Strange. A year ago, Gannett disclosed a specific figure: 24%. Given online's importance as more advertising shifts to the Internet, why didn't this year's report do the same? I asked spokeswoman Tara Connell. Her response: "We don't publish every number."
Why do you think Gannett is keeping the rate under wraps? Use this link to e-mail your reply; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the sidebar, upper right. Or leave a note in the comments section, below.