Gannett, the largest US newspaper publisher, on Wednesday said first-quarter profits fell 11.5 per cent as declining advertising revenues hurt USA Today, its flagship title.
Net profits were $235.3m, or 99 cents per share, from $265.7m, or $1.03 per cent the previous year, at the bottom of the company's own estimate range. Revenues rose 6.5 per cent to $1.88bn, from $1.77bn the previous year, thanks largely to the acquisition of the Detroit Free Press last year.
USA Today, Gannett's nationwide daily title, suffered a 4.2 per cent decline in advertising revenues during the quarter. Excluding the Detroit acquisition, advertising sales fell 1.8 per cent at the company's print division, while classified advertising declined 1.9 per cent and nationwide ad revenues were 1.7 per cent lower.
Gannett, which publishes more than 90 other newspapers across the US, said newsprint costs rose 14 per cent as it saw declining trends on auto advertising as real-estate and jobs ads increased.
Like its competitors, Gannett has seen advertising demand move to internet sites that offer customisable searches and other advantages over the classified format that has been the bread and butter of smaller newspapers.
The winter Olympic Games helped Gannett's NBC-affiliated television stations and boosted advertising revenues at its TV unit by 11 per cent to $182.6m.
Gannett shares rose 0.3 per cent to $59 in early trading.