I'm covering the 10 a.m. ET conference call, as CEO Craig Dubow and COO Gracia Martore talk to Wall Street stock analysts about this morning's second-quarter earnings release. The conference is open to the public on a listen-only basis. Details, here.
10:59 a.m.: How's political advertising? On TV, "it's moving along nicely," Dubow says. And we're done!
10:58 a.m. Martore expects (I think) $15 million in quarterly pension contributions.
10:52 a.m.: What about revenue on iPad for USA Today? Dubow: Yes, there is premium on advertising because of the environment. "It's extremely clean, there's no clutter. But as we move forward, let's just see where things settle. We're continuing to run these tests. But we haven't definitively defined when or how."
10:51 a.m.: Stock sell-off continues: Shares are now down 2.4%. And the Dow Jones is off 164 points!
10:49 a.m.: Any interest in buying TV stations? Dubow says none in "standalone," more in "synergy."
10:42 a.m.: How are things looking in the U.K.? The royal wedding news bump has worn off. Davidson & Co. are doing a good job. "I think you'll still see some headwinds there,'' Martore says. Impact on The News of the World closing? "We'll stay out of that," Dubow says, firmly, cutting off any discussion. Hmmmmm . . . Good coaching, Robin Pence!
10:37 a.m.: How are paywalls doing at the three newspaper test sites? Martore says they're "working on a few more items at the moment," and more tests. "It's a little early for us to share any more details." Sheesh! When are they going to give this a final up or down? The New York Times is reporting good results since putting up a paywall in late March.
10:35 a.m.: Shares are now down 2%.
10:33 a.m.: More newspaper layoffs ahead? Martore says "we have currently no intention of looking at further reductions." But that depends on individual businesses. "We've been adding back in key digital areas, and in broadcast. . . . You can't just hone in on one specific division."
10:31 a.m.: What are priorities for cash? (So much for one question per analyst.) Dubow says they are still looking for possible digital investments, while also giving back to shareholders.
10:28 a.m.: How's newspaper advertising look? Martore says June was a better month, "so felt good about the way we've closed up the quarter." In July, things are "perking along in the same way."
10:27 a.m.: The much more interesting Q&A portion has now begun.
10:25 a.m.: New buzzwords alert: CareerBuilder is evolving into a "human capital solutions company," Martore says. Oy, veh.
10:23 a.m.: Newsprint prices still suck, but they're starting to suck less.
10:17 a.m.: Martore has just given us the first reference to "headwinds" -- Corporate's favorite scapegoat for any bad news. What? The Japanese earthquake?!
10:14 a.m.: Dubow just said, "Deal Chicken." Sounds silly coming out of his mouth. He keeps saying it: Deal Chicken, Deal Chicken, Deal Chicken.
10:08 a.m.: Shares have now begun trading south. A likely co-culprit: The Dow Jones Industrial Average is off 130 points. So much for the good news, eh, Wall Street?
10:02 a.m.: And here's Martore! Soon, they'll begin reading prepared statements. Z-z-z-z-z-z-z. You may want to take a bathroom break at this point.
10 a.m.: Operator has just given us the one minute warning!
9:56 a.m.: This Mile High comment just in: Anonymous@9:51 a.m. says the execs are actually in Denver today!!! Tanks of oxygen have been wheeled into the conference room.
9:52 a.m.: Now listening to soothing, calming, relaxing, gentle, classical music. (I recognize that piece, but can't recall the title. Anyone?)
9:48 a.m.: They try to avoid the temptation of checking the current stock price on their Blackberries. (Recent trade: $13.50, barely changed. Ooops.) Meanwhile, Chief Marketing Officer Maryam Banikarim once more updates her resume.
9:45 a.m.: The call starts in 15 minutes. Somewhere in the Gannett Tower at the Crystal Palace, executives are nervously sitting around a large conference table. Oh, boy.