Gannett Co. reported fourth quarter broadcasting revenue of $199.8 million, down 14% from the same quarter a year ago. Excluding Gannett's Captivate elevator programming network, television revenue was $192.4 million, down 13% from the same quarter a year ago. Taking out the previous fourth quarter's political spending, TV revenue was up 11.3%, thanks in large part to a "significant" increase in automotive advertising, said Gannett. Gannett banked $52 million in political in 2010's fourth quarter, compared to $5 million in 2011's fourth.
Gannett's retransmission consent revenue was $21.4 million in the quarter, up 30.3%.
Publishing operating revenue was just over $1 billion in the fourth quarter, down 5.3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. Gannett's digital revenue was up 9.4% in the quarter to $181.5 million.
"During a period of weak economic growth, Gannett once again differentiated itself within the media industry by delivering solid profitability across each of our market-leading business segments-publishing, broadcast and digital-as well as free cash flow of $775 million in 2011," said Gracia Martore, president and CEO. "Gannett's strong balance sheet and cash generation give us the flexibility to execute our growth strategy and successfully compete in the digital era while paying down debt and returning capital to shareholders."
Martore expanded her role when former chairman/CEO Craig Dubow resigned in October.
"In the fourth quarter, we continued to leverage our local media franchises and iconic national brands across multiple platforms, reinventing local journalism for the digital age and providing innovative marketing solutions for our advertisers," she said.