Gannett Anticipates Q3 Revenue of $1.3 Billion

Retrans fees should offset lack of Olympic advertising

Gannett anticipates its third quarter net income will be between $93 million and $100 million, excluding special charges. That compares favorably to the $70.5 million in net income attributable to Gannett in the second quarter.

The media giant expects total quarterly revenues of $1.3 billion to $1.32 billion.

Gannett, which owns 23 TV stations, 84 daily papers and hundreds of other publications, releases its third quarter earnings Oct. 19.

Gannett's stock price shot up 17% to $11.66 with the forecast by noon Sept. 29.

When second quarter results came out in mid-July, the company predicted a hard hit to the broadcast division in the third quarter. It reported television revenues of $148.4 million for the second quarter, a drop of 19.7% from the previous year's second quarter. "Based on current trends, we would expect the percentage decline in television revenues to be in the mid-twenties for the third quarter of 2009 compared to the third quarter of 2008," the company said at the time.

Retransmission consent fees will help offset the absence of Olympic advertising in the current quarter. "The company continued to successfully navigate through the economic headwinds both in the U.S. and U.K.," said Executive V.P./CFO Gracia Martore today. "Although overall advertising revenue comparisons remain difficult, our third quarter year-over-year publishing comparisons improved again versus first and second quarter comparisons. Our broadcast comparisons reflect the almost total absence of Olympics and political advertising, which were approximately $50 million last year during the third quarter, partially offset by the near tripling of retransmission fees this year."

Companies' third quarter earnings this year will often show improvement over last year's third quarter, as that's when the nation's economy went into a tailspin.