Gannett reported third quarter television revenue of $198.5 million, down 14.8% from the same quarter a year ago. Revenues would have been 13.6% higher excluding the incremental impact of Olympic and political spending year-over-year, said Gannett.
Retransmission revenue was up 62.8%. Broadcast revenue, including Gannett's Captivate elevator network, was $203.4 million, down 14.2% from the same quarter a year before. The decrease reflects the absence of Olympic and political spending, partially offset by significant growth in retransmission revenue and digital revenue growth of 20.7%. Operating revenues in the digital category totaled $191.4 million.
Gannett agreed to acquire the Belo station group in June for $1.5 billion, plus the assumption of $715 million in existing debt for a roughly $2.2 billion pricetag. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of the year.
Gracia Martore, Gannett president and CEO, trumpeted the corporation's digital performance. "In the third quarter, we continued to take steps to further expand our digital offerings and execute across all of our media and marketing platforms," she said. "We achieved a 12% increase in digital revenue companywide, which underscores our ongoing evolution into a more highly diversified, higher margin multi-media company.
Broadcast and publishing, she added, "performed well."
Publishing segment revenues were $858.1 million in the quarter, compared to $890.2 million in the third quarter last year. Gannett's operating revenues were $1.25 billion in the third quarter, down from $1.31 billion in last year's Q3.
Martore noted that Belo shareholders approved the Belo deal during the quarter. "We continue to anticipate bringing the transaction to a close following the attainment of regulatory approvals," she said. "We are working towards a seamless integration that will accelerate our transformation and create an even stronger Gannett."