Gannett (NYSE: GCI) CEO Craig Dubow devoted much of the Q1 conference call with investors touting the company’s multi-pronged digital initiatives. Which makes sense, considering the continued weakness of print ad spending, especially on the national level and in the UK. With that in mind, Dubow highlighted its local digital marketing programs, particularly around the hot trend of online daily deals.
The local digital programs will now be rolled out nationwide: DoubleTake, a Groupon-like experiment begun at Clipper Magazine, followed by Deal Chicken, which based in Phoenix. The social media programs aren’t just for Gannett’s 80 community newspapers. The plan also calls for greater matching of hyperlocal community efforts tied to its TV broadcast stations as part of Gannett’s rebranding campaign emphasizing itself as a traditional media company with a digital core.
Dubow also said he was thrilled with CareerBuilder’s results, which were up 16 percent, added Gracia Martore, Gannett’s president and COO. The jobs site had been a a major lag on digital revenues until about two quarters ago when the declines began to turn into gains. Still, the double-digit rise at Careerbuilder is a bright spot, considering the shaky employment situation that has improved only slightly in the U.S.
While there are still no plans to begin charging for the USA Today iPad app — a version of which has also launched for Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Honeycomb tablet platform — but Martore said that “it’s something we’re constantly looking at.” Dubow added, looking at the success of the iPad 2, “people seem quite satisfied with that offering and we expect that to continue to grow.”