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Earnings: Gannett Profits Fall 47 Percent, But Beat Analysts’ Estimates

As the Gannett (NYSE: GCI) had warned investors last month, profits and revenue continued to decline in Q3, but the newspaper publisher can at least say it beat analysts’ estimates. The McLean, Va.-based company posted non-GAAP earnings $0.44, a few points ahead of an analysts consensus of $0.41(via Thomson Reuters).

Net income was down 46.5 percent from Q308, as revenue fell 18.4 percent, reflecting the ad revenue pains, particularly in classifieds. And while digital revenues were up 84.2 percent from last year, the increase was mostly due to the inclusion of its CareerBuilder investment in the quarter’s results. The digital segment’s operating revenues were actually 20 percent lower due to weak recruitment-ad spending related to the recession.

Earnings release | Webcast (10:00 AM)

3Q 2009 3Q 2008 Analysts Estimates For 2009
EPS $0.44 $0.76 $0.41
Net Income $85.1M $159M NA
Revenue $1.3B $1.6B NA

Publishing: The segment’s revenues were $1 billion, a 23.5 percent decline, which closely followed a 28 percent drop in ad revenues. Both the U.S. and UK, as represented by the Newsmarket unit, remained dismal, as ad revenues slid 26 percent and 28.7 percent, respectively. Both retail and national were 21- and 24 percent, respectively, but the real hit was in classifieds, which plunged 36.9 percent.

Over at Gannett flagship USA Today, the paper has been taken down primarily because of its heavy reliance on the travel industry, which has taken a hit from the poor economy. As a result, paid ad pages at USAT were down 30.9 percent in Q3.