Saturday, December 11, 2010

Here's one of Martore's most worrisome remarks

"We have budgeted conservatively for 2011 in keeping with the year-over-year comparisons noted. We estimate the percentage increase in newsprint expense will be in the mid to high teens range and comparisons in the first quarter will be the most challenging of the year."

-- COO Gracia Martore, on the outlook for newsprint prices in 2011; her remarks came during a Wall Street media stock analysts conference Wednesday. Newsprint and labor are among Gannett's single-biggest operating expenses. (Martore's prepared remarks.)

Related: remarks by CEO Craig Dubow and all the executives


  1. This just sets the table for more furloughs come Jan. 1, and most of the year

  2. We gonna need our Boot Straps

  3. 1. David Hunke did NOT present for a reason...Wonder why? He has been put in the penalty box as he has resisted the demands of Gracia Martore. Apparently, Gracia would like to see Mr. Hunke fire an additional 300 USAT people, outsource content to Content One and merge USAToday with USCP under Bob Dickey!

    2. Bob Dickey's commentary about the paid content is misleading. What he did not mention was the severe drop in page views that have occurred across the test sites. He also forget to mention the corresponding drop in advertising revenues too.

    3. Yahoo Partnership is a total disaster and it is misleading to discuss the additional revenue gain without explaining that a majority of that revenue being sold is NOT USCP ad impressions, but Yahoo local page views. Gannett receives a small sales fee for selling Yahoo page views.

    4. Notice the very brief mention of Pointroll and ShopLocal. Do you think that if the CEO of Pointroll was staying on at Gannett they would not be praising their results a lot more? Basically, Pointroll is carry Gannett!

    5. I find it also interesting that Bob Dickey did not mention the two major multi-million dollar advertisers that have decided to cancel their relationship with USCP print product.

  4. Jim,
    Have you confirmed that Matt Ferguson has resigned? Shouldn't that have been mentioned at these presentations? Isn't it material enough since Gannett is consolidating the CB financials?

  5. Hi My Boss, thanks for dropping in! Many of us here appreciate the nuggets you toss us, since they seem to pretty much pan out. And since I'm sitting here in the middle of a blizzard, I've got lots of time to digest said nuggets!

  6. I too,am in the Blizzard zone.
    I think what is coming for Gannett employees
    is a blizzard of worse proportions.
    How can Gannett continue on course as set.
    Expenses are high,news print costs cannot be
    Employee expense,the other major expense,
    can be controlled by Gannett,guess what that
    has to mean. Reduce,cut and reduce payroll
    expense,and then cut and reduce again.
    Revenues are probably what they are,and maybe going down,so expense reduction,as in the past ,
    is the only solution.
    I would prepare for worst.

  7. USAT might indeed get rid of a lot more people. Unfortunately, it won't be the "right" people. Meanwhile, Uber chief of verticals Heather Frank is building her own empire, hiring friends and others who have no clue about putting out a daily print or web product. This is a disaster in the making. Page views are down, content is lousy and not enough advertisers are being attracted to the product. Yet she and her team are about to take over the entire news space now occupied by the downtrodden Money team. When this venture fails, there will be plenty of blood spilled.

  8. 8:34 I have not confirmed anything regarding a changed employment status for Ferguson.

  9. Regarding My Boss' comment on the three paywall test sites, here are my thoughts.

    1. I note the following in Dickey's presentation. He does, in fact, say pageviews are up -- although it's not clear whether they're up overall, or just in certain content areas. Also, his remark about advertising suggests that ad revenue hasn't fallen.

    "Promotion is critical. A comprehensive promotion strategy that spans social media, e-mail and other platforms is driving month-over-month gains in page views at all three test sites."

    "The three sites have delivered all their local online advertising campaigns throughout this testing period and overall retention rates remain strong."

    2. We all want paywalls to work. They're the best hope we've got. But I'll add this caution about Dickey's remarks. Publishers, ad directors and editors know the importance of this test, and so are going to deliver positive results -- no matter what.

    Regarding online ad campaigns, for example, every effort will be made to record sales as digital rather than print in order to get high numbers. That sort of accounting maneuver could skew results.

    3. Another question: How much is all of this costing in net, new budget dollars? Are the promotions driving pageviews higher costing more than any gains? How big are these month-over-month pageview gains? Incremental, or substantial?

    4. Five months in, what does it say about these tests that Corporate hasn't expanded them to other sites?

  10. My Boss:
    I do not agree that Yahoo is a disaster. I don't think it will be the home-run some think it will be but it's generating some additional revenue. Also, Gannett gets 50% of what it sells on Yahoo, not a "small sales fee."

    Who are the two advertisers that USCP lost?

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Anyone know details of the deal that Gannett worked out with its newsprint supplier(s)?

    Martore said sometime back that negotiations were ongoing, so she wouldn't speculate on how much Gannett would be paying.

    What's the figure?

  13. Now I know My Boss is B.S. - Pointroll is carrying Gannett? yeah, right...

  14. Furloughed Fury12/14/2010 10:22 AM

    How about some "payroll reductions" in the crystal towers and glass offices? Time to share the pain, especially the five execs who walked away with $5 mil in bonuses and others who get expensive company cars while the rest of us got zero. And if Furloughs are coming, at least schedule one for the summer, so we can enjoy our financial misery on the beach.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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