NEW YORK--March 20, 2002--Gannett Chairman, President and CEO Douglas H. McCorkindale said today the company is comfortable with most First Call estimates of 90 cents per diluted share for the first quarter, assuming current trends continue.
Achieving this result would be almost a 5 percent increase year-over-year using the new accounting rules for goodwill amortization in both years, McCorkindale said.
McCorkindale and other Gannett executives were reporting on the company's performance to date in 2002 and the outlook for the remainder of the first quarter at a presentation today to the Media and Entertainment Analysts of New York.
Gary Watson, president of the Newspaper Division, said: "The numbers in recent weeks would seem to indicate that, at least from a cyclical perspective, the worst may be behind us.'' February classified results at Gannett's community newspapers may serve to show "we've bottomed out and are heading back toward positive territory,'' perhaps around the middle of the year.
Tom Curley, president and publisher of USA TODAY, noted that "the climate for national advertising has improved,'' but said making predictions about the near term still is problematic. Other ventures with the USA TODAY brand continue to grow, including USATODAY.com. Audience at the Internet site is up about a third and advertising there is beginning to turn, Curley said.
Craig Dubow, president and CEO of Gannett Broadcasting said "We have had a good first quarter.'' Dubow projected 2002 first quarter revenues to be up in the high single digits over the first quarter of 2001 due to higher automotive ad spending, Winter Olympics-related ad spending on the company's 13 NBC stations and political spending.
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