Gannett – parent company of UK regional publisher Newsquest and the biggest newspaper publisher in the US – recorded a fall in profits of more than 50 per cent during the third quarter of the year.
The group said last night profits had been hit by a massive drop in advertising revenue between July and the end of September – its British publishing wing also suffered large falls in its ad-generated income.
Newsquest, which owns more than 200 newspapers including the Glasgow Herald and Brighton Argus, recorded a fall in overall advertising revenue of 28.7 per cent year on year during the period.
Retail advertising fell by 19 per cent at Newsquest while national advertising fell by 10.4 per cent.
Classified advertising across its regional newspapers was worst hit, falling by 34.7 per cent during the period as property, motoring and jobs advertising suffered large declines.
Revenue from property advertising dropped 30.6 per cent year-on-year. Motoring was down 37.4 per cent and employment down by 48.8 per cent at Newsquest.
Gannett made pre-tax profits of $73.8m (£45m), down 53 per cent on last year’s third-quarter figure of $158.1m.
Despite the downturn Craig Dubow, Gannett chairman and chief executive, said results were better than forecast and the company had begun to move in the right direction.
He said: “Although recession in the US and UK continued to temper ad demand and revenue growth during the quarter we are encouraged by the revenue trends.
“Third quarter year-over-year comparisons of publishing advertising revenue were a few percentage points than year-over-year comparisons for the second quarter and September was our best comparison month of the year.”
Overall, ad revenue declined 28 per cent across Gannett year on year, after falls of 34 per cent and 32 per cent respectively in the first two quarters of the year.