Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights: New York Times, Gannett Co, McClatchy Company, Washington Post and Journal Communications

Sep 28, 2011, 09:30 ET from Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, Sept. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Zacks Equity Research discusses the Publishing, including The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT), Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) and Journal Communications, Inc. (NYSE: JRN).


A synopsis of today's Industry Outlook is presented below. The full article can be read at

According to the data released by the Newspaper Association of America, total advertising revenue for U.S. newspapers slipped 6.9% in second-quarter 2011 (April to June) to $5.99 billion, after falling 7% in the previous quarter, marking the 20th consecutive quarter of decline. The last time the Industry witnessed an increase in revenue was in the second quarter of 2006.

Print advertising declined 8.9% to $5.19 billion, after declining 9.5%, 6.8%, 7.1% and 7.6% in the previous four quarters, respectively. National advertising sales declined 8.8% to $985 million, retail dropped 8.1% to $2.96 billion and classified plunged 10.9% to $1.25 billion during the second quarter.

Print advertising revenue at The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) dropped 6.4% in second-quarter 2011. At Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI), publishing advertising revenue dropped 6.5% in second-quarter 2011.

Print advertising revenue tumbled 11.8% at The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI) and 12% at The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) in second-quarter 2011. Publishing advertising revenue dropped approximately 9.7% at Journal Communications, Inc. (NYSE: JRN).

Online Advertising Gaining Traction

The Internet-based advertising model, which also fell prey to the economic downturn, is now re-gaining traction. According to the data released by the Newspaper Association of America, online advertising revenue climbed 8% in second-quarter 2011 to $803 million from $744 in the prior-year quarter, reflecting a sixth consecutive quarter of growth, and contributed 15.5% of total revenue, up from 11.6% in the year-ago quarter. Advertisers are migrating to the Internet driven by increasing online readership and lower online advertising prices compared to print.

Digital advertising revenue at McClatchy rose 1.6%, helped by retail and classified advertising, including auto as a major category, but was offset by national advertising. Total digital advertising revenue at The New York Times Company grew 2.6%, whereas digital advertising revenues at the News Media Group surged 15.5%.

Efforts to Mitigate Losses

In an effort to offset declining revenue and shrinking market share, publishers are scrambling to slash costs. This has compelled many newspaper companies to undertake cost-cutting measures, such as trimming of headcount, pay cuts, furloughs, suspension of dividends and matching contributions to employee 401(k) funds, voluntary retirement program and closure of printing facilities. Asset sales, even at trough valuations, have proven to be a less viable option in the midst of tight credit markets.

To curb shrinking advertising revenue and improve market shares battered by the recent economic downturn, the publishing companies are now even considering charging readers for online content. Newspaper companies have been remodeling and restructuring themselves to better align with the growing need of marketers, targeting younger people, affluent households and other demographic groups with multiple web and print publications.

The publishing companies are adapting to the changing facet of the multi-platform media universe, which currently includes mobile, social media networks and reader application products in its fold.

Publishers now do not concern themselves about the total number of copies distributed, but focus more on whether copies reach the target audience. This strategy helps newspaper companies attract advertisers and, in turn, generate more revenue for each copy sold.

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