Gannett Co. Inc. posted weak results for the first quarter, with the company’s TV stations dragging down an already-sluggish newspaper operation. Not counting the positive effects of a midyear acquisition, Gannet’s station revenues dropped 5% to $164.6 million, while operating cash flow dropped 13% to $66.4 million.
As have a number of station owners before it, Gannett blamed the problem partly on the absence of political and football advertising (six of Gannett's 20 TV's are CBS affiliates, which aired the NFL football championship last year).
However, the company said it’s core ad business is also having problems. Car advertising was down in the “mid-single-digit” percentage range for the quarter for broadcasting, and is pacing down for the second quarter as well.
Companywide revenues, including Gannett’s much larger newspaper operation, increased 4% to $1.8 billion. Operating cash flow increased 2% to $455.5 million.