Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm now live-blogging the Q1 conference call

CEO Gracia Martore is hosting a first-quarter earnings conference call with Wall Street stock analysts starting at 10 ET this morning. That call is being webcast and is open to the public on a listen-only basis here. I'm live-blogging the event.

11 a.m. Interesting: About 400 newspaper workers took buyouts in the first quarter, Martore says. And the conference is now over.

10:58 Last question: What about debt? About $1.7 billion at the end of the quarter, Martore says. Share base at end of quarter? 240 million diluted shares at the end of the quarter, she says.

10:52 Still no questions or discussion about DealChicken: Not a good sign.

10:48 Confusing response to pension contributions for the rest of the year. (I'm wondering: What were those numbers again?) 

10:41 Question: How is April trending in print advertising? Martore: Overall, ad comparisons got much better as the first quarter unfolded. "We currently anticipate that the second quarter will be much more like the way we ended the first quarter." Not looking for "heroic" political ads in the second quarter for broadcasting, however.

10:39 First question: Why did telecom advertising fall; are they shifting away from print? Martore says no; it's more about competitive pressures.

10:38 The most interesting part of the call is about to start: The question-and-answer session.

10:33 Investors still unhappy: GCI's stock is now trading for $13.86, down nearly 8%. The dividend yield is at 5.7%.

10:30 We can now understand why they announced Publisher Dave Hunke's retirement plans: Corporate wants Wall Street to know that it knows USAT is still a problem.

10:30 From the earnings statement: National advertising was down 13.3%. "At USAT, increases in the technology and advocacy categories were more than offset by declines in several categories including entertainment, telecommunications, automotive and financial."

Here's Chief Financial Officer Paul Saleh. Basically, he's highlighting the numbers in the financial news release. Ad demand in January was soft across all categories, especially in national advertising -- that's USAT.

10:21 Here's Dickey. (Is it just my connection or is the audio awful?) Charging between $9 and $15 a month for digital-only subscriptions. Already at 35% of annual goal at the first sites. Next wave of 17 sites starts May 1.

10:20 I wonder if she's going to talk about the online coupon site, DealChicken?

10:16 Digital marketing services is another area of focus. New sizable opportunity for the company. "Keenly aware it's a fast-track opportunity."

10:13 She's now talking about USAT Sports Media Group. It meets all criteria of "big, transformative idea." The Group had 24 million unique visitors in March.

10:09 USA Today's results were weak again. She notes that USAT has always been less than 10% of total company revenue. Our goal now is to attract a "top-notch" publisher, she says.

10:07 Martore says digital revenue is now 22% of total revenue. This includes all of CareerBuilder's revenue, even though GCI owns just a bit over 50%.

10:05 GCI's stock is trading at $14.03, down 6.7%.

10:01 The call has started. Martore who is hosting the call is making introductions. U.S. newspapers President Bob Dickey will be speaking later; this is the first time he's been on one of these calls, I believe.

9:47 a.m. We're waiting for the conference to start.


  1. Gracia says:
    Iconic, iconic, iconic, iconic, iconic! Hallmark, hallmark, hallmark! Hometown, hometown, hometown! Significant, significant, significant, significant! Digital, digital, digital, digital!

    Tell us the truth, Paul:
    Soft, soft, soft, soft, soft! Down, down, down, down! Lower, lower, lower, lower! Decline, decline, decline!

  2. $9 to $15 a month for a digital-only subscription?!? I can't stop laughing!

  3. $15 for a monthly subscription to a Gannett web site? That's what the NY Times charges.

    Let's see, $15 for crap and nightclub T&A slideshows on a web site I can't navigate because it's so f'ed up or $15 for the NY Times and the best journalism in America right now? Decisions, decisions. Actually it's no decision at all, I'll take the NY Times.

    If they think people are going to pay $15 to access a Gannett web site they're smoking crack.

  4. Well, they must all feel good now that all there shares are back under water!

    The only executives that made any money recently was Dubow and Ehrman since they dumped all their shitty Gannett stock!

    Party on girls! Girls night out for Gracia!!!!

  5. Digital net income: $16. 3 million.

    Publishing: $84.8 million.

    Broadcast: $72 million.

  6. SMACKED! That is what happened to Gracia after today's earnings call. This is a $5 stock! Short it NOW!

  7. 11:13am - That's exactly what I told them.
    Then they let me go.

    I guess they're hoping two wrongs make a right.

  8. Gracia telling us in gannett in house presentation that 1 quarter numbers were slightly better than projected. Really? Is that why GCI down 9%?

  9. How close to the Titanic anniversary....

  10. Sez they will REDOUBLE efforts to communicate better to employees. yowsah. More useless vice presidential appointees!

  11. Usa Today: we need to further align expenses with revenues. Gulp. Job cuts ahead. aaaaooogah..

  12. And Gannett wants to be in control of your company's social media marketing, for a price. there's a power point with all the details floating around.

  13. Dealchicken: top 6 in category. nothing to cluck about.

  14. Murko actually sounds like she knows what she is doing. keeping fingers crossed on this one.

  15. I never knew women back-slapped themselves like their previous con men counterparts. Yeah, way to go, atta girl Martore, Banikarim, Murko, Ellwood, Frank, Weiss, Zimmerman, Micek. You really are the saviours of Gannett and USAT. What a great job you all are doing. Girl power forever! Just look at that stock soar.

  16. "This ship is (practically) unsinkable."

    Uh-huh. NYT digital and WSJ are $100/yr corporate rate. How much are local obits, prep sports, and accident photos worth? When the TV stations figure that out -- look out below!!

  17. USAT Sports just tweeted they're the #4 sports platform according to comscore.

  18. Gannett Gets Junk Debt Rating4/16/2012 5:28 PM


    Moody's rating service cut Gannett's guaranteed senior unsecured note and credit facility's rating a notch to Ba1 after results were released.

  19. Jim: National Advertising category is a factor at every significant newspaper in the chain. It's not just USAT, as you indicated. When National Advertising is down, it hurts clear across the board.

  20. 7:44 Good point.

    I would add, however, that Corporate didn't provide that context in its remarks to analysts today.

    Also, it's worth noting that today's 13.3% decline in national advertising -- which is mostly USAT -- was the second-worst quarterly decline over the past two years.

    The worst was in last year's third quarter, when national fell 15.4%.

  21. Broadcast continues to ring up profits. Plus spin us off from Print, as a separate company!

  22. Broadcast will save this year with the Olympics and record political spending. Nothing looks promising for 2013 or beyond until Advertising gets its act together.

    Management boasts digital now 22% of revenue. But model still isn't very profitable. $16 million in quarterly profit is about 10% the size of publishing/broadcast profits.

  23. Spin away! Lougee CEO of Gannett Broadcast. Scary!

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