Wednesday, December 07, 2011

I'm live-blogging today's UBS investor conference

Corporate joins other media companies making presentations to Wall Street stock analysts at the annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. Gannett's is set to start at 10 a.m. ET and will last about an hour. Listen to a replay of the webcast here.

10:59 And it's over! GCI stock is now down 1.6%.

10:58 Last question! Revenue on international CareerBuilder business? Profit margins? Ferguson says that figure hasn't been released. Europe is a good place to do business regarding margins, though not as good as India. Doesn't expect margins in China to be as good as anywhere else in world because of regulatory environment there.

10:56 What went wrong with Moms Like Me? What are lessons to new product offerings? Payne: Good symbol of what you need to do with digital product development: invest significant amount in it, or realize "it wasn't catching the fire we hoped to get." Martore: We were reaching moms in other ways through other products.

10:54 Martore clarifies in response to a question: Total publishing advertising down 5.5% -- not overall revenue. That'll be offset by circulation revenue and some offset printing.

10:52 How are "the big four," Florida, Arizona, Nevada and California? Dickey says: Phoenix improving. Some improvements in Florida, but until real estate market comes back, still a challenge. Dickey doesn't address California or Nevada, however.

10:48 Trends in print advertising in current quarter? Martore says across-the-board results were a little bit better than anticipated -- November "demonstrably better." Pre-prints very strong in November. U.K. seeing "stabilization" in advertising, Newsquest CEO Paul Davidson told Gannett Management Committee yesterday.

10:45 Now to Q&A session, with perhaps 15 minutes allowed for that. Martore now talking about dividend boost in July and stock buyback. Board of directors continues to review that decision for possible future action.

10:41 What will we do with free cash flow? Paying down debt. Looking to 2012, expect economic growth here and in U.K. to be "subdued." Uh-oh: Nothing about possible dividend increase. As always, focus on "extracting" expenses from company. Headcount to be down "low single digits" in U.S. newspaper division. This year or next? Unclear.

10:40 "Very comfortable" with 69 cents EPS for current quarter. For full year: $5.2 billion in revenue, down 4% vs. 2010.

10:37 Here's Saleh. Stock now down 1.5%. Total publishing revenue now down 5.5% in current quarter. Excluding impact of political spending, expect current TV revenue up 9-11% from last year.

10:35 Just made briefest of brief reference to digital subscriptions, but no details. Perhaps paywall experiment isn't being extended after all, as I (mis)understood earlier. Sure would like to know more. 80% of DealChicken advertisers are new to GCI.

10:30 Who the heck is talking now? Speaker wasn't introduced. CFO Paul Saleh? Payne? Must be Payne. Expect to see more video. Relaunch of websites. USAT is No. 1 news and information iPad application. Maybe because it's free vs. New York Times and Wall Street Journal; he doesn't mention that likely factor.

10:27 Ferguson wrapping up. Always interesting to see how much time he's given: lots. Wonder why head of newspaper division, Bob Dickey, doesn't present; he's head of the biggest operating unit.

10:22 Expects improving U.S. labor market throughout 2012, assuming there isn't another blow-up in Europe's debt crisis. Hot Jobs acquisition hasn't done much for Monster a year later. Ferguson sounds tired.

10:20 GCI shares are down about 1% right now. Here's CareerBuilder chief Matt Ferguson.

10:15 Whoa! Monetization of content. Now talking about extending paywall experiments? Not sure I heard that correctly. More details from Chief Technology Officer David Payne, I hope.

10:13 Excluding Detroit, newspaper properties are profitable. Interesting! Detroit is still in the red.

10:12 DealChicken! Now in 57 markets and "results thus far have been very strong." Quotes one retailer whose customer base increased 50% in Phoenix market.

10:11 Yow. Lots and lots of details about client solutions groups. I'm picturing a lot of stock analysts now glancing at their BlackBerries/iPhones.

10:08 21 community newspapers posted Sunday [circulation] gains. Why is that important? Sunday is most important advertising day of the week: 45% of advertising.

10:07 USA Today Sports Media Group a great example of "leveraging local and national content." High school sports engages with 7,000 sports directors. More than 12 million monthly unique visitors.

10:04 Martore is now reading from a statement. Now introducing other GCI executives with her. Chairman Marge Magner is there!

10:01 30-second warning! CEO Gracia Martore should be first up.

9:52 a.m.: We're now waiting for the conference to begin.


  1. Operating Committees please refer to your layoff lists.

  2. Extracting expenses from the company. Back to what a bean counter does best.

  3. Thanks for the Live Blogging, Jim, this is good stuff.

  4. "USAT is No. 1 news and information iPad application."

    No. 1 in terms of what? Downloads? Big shit. A lot of people download apps and then uninstall or never use them again. What's the usage or traffic from iPads? Have those numbers been released?

  5. 12:14 I believe Payne was referring to No. 1 in terms of downloads.

  6. "Headcount to be down "low single digits" in U.S. newspaper division." Does that mean just 9 layoffs?
    What is the hotshot's definition of single digits?

  7. 12:31,I was wondering the very same thing. Low single digits at each site, maybe?

  8. I believe that's low single digits in percentage terms. So, reducing employment by perhaps less than 5%.

    For context, Gannett's worldwide employment fell 7% in 2010 vs. 2009. Within U.S. newspapers, it was down about 9%. (Details.)

  9. Tom Squires former Florida Today Sports Editor died on 12/19, with Gannett for 37 years. di


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