GANNETT CO., INC.
                       GOLDMAN SACHS COMMUNICOPIA
                            SEPTEMBER 21, 2005


     ...
Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President

 Well, first of all, thank you. It is great to be here, Peter. As we take a look a...
3




And that's really what our team is working on. As you mentioned, I just moved into this
position. I think this is 65...
4




other hand, with USA TODAY, we have had some significant progress with the auto
launches, etc., that we have seen pa...
5




portfolio there is six stations. We are the second largest CBS operator, and we've had
some nice uptick there. And a...
6




Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President

 Sure. In the mid- and smaller markets, price has just not been a problem fo...
7




Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst

 Let me interrupt. What gives you confidence that you can capture that reade...
8




Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President

 That's correct. As I said, this is an area we are focusing on. I can tell y...
9




Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst

And we will get Gracia into the discussion here too.

The recurring theme is...
10




over the last couple of years. We will continue to use our free cash flow and perhaps
more for either share repurch...
11




Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst

 Back to the business for a second. The national ad market in particular ha...
12




Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst

 I forgot to ask you one critical item on the capital structure issue. Is t...
13




Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst

 Would your expectation be that it will be a declining percentage of the to...
14




going to do what we need to do appropriately within the marketplace. There will be an
ebb and flow with the numbers...
15




Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst

 Is it impossible to think about then just the core community newspaper bus...
16




Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO

It's probably a little bit too early to tell. We still need to finish up this year ...
17




Then certainly as we build that forward, the digital side and what that can mean in the
cross platform sale, we are...
18




difficult we know. How important is the international operation going to be to you on a
go-forward basis? I think a...
19




something really significant that comes up that would make good sense. We are very
pleased and still see that there...
20




Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President

 Absolutely. Another example we are working on right now is in Wilmington (...
21




Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst

Last question -- sort of by way of wrap up. Any thoughts, Craig, in terms o...
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gannett Communicopia

  1. 1. GANNETT CO., INC. GOLDMAN SACHS COMMUNICOPIA SEPTEMBER 21, 2005 PRESENTATION PARTICIPANTS: Gannett – President and CEO Craig Dubow Gannett – CFO Gracia Martore Goldman Sachs Analyst Peter Appert Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst I am Peter Appert. I cover the publishing and the information services companies for Goldman Sachs. A pleasure to have with us this afternoon: Gannett, which is representing two firsts for us today. It's Gannett's debut appearance at Goldman's Communicopia Conference, and I think this is Craig Dubow's debut appearance at an investor conference in his new role as Gannett's CEO. Craig joined Gannett 24 years ago, serving a variety of positions in the Company's broadcasting units, eventually becoming the President of this unit in 2000. Under Craig's leadership, Gannett has consistently been among the most profitable of the broadcasters as measured in terms of operating margin. Effective July 15th this year, Craig became CEO of Gannett, succeeding the long-time CEO known to many of you, Doug McCorkindale. Also lucky to have with us today on the podium, Gracia Martore, known to many of you as the Company's CFO, a role she's served in for the last several years. Same format we have been using all day. If you have questions you would like me to ask the management team, write them down on a card; somebody will collect them from you. Welcome. I am supposed to shake your hand; it is part of the program. Welcome. That's part of the formal process we do here at Goldman Sachs. So, first question -- most importantly, how is the Dubow era going to be different from the McCorkindale era?
  2. 2. Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Well, first of all, thank you. It is great to be here, Peter. As we take a look at things from the outset, we believe we have a number of key pieces in place as we progress into the future, certainly with our core assets on our publishing side. As we look to the future, we're going to want to be very, very focused towards the demographic and psychographic profiles of our customers. And we will become a more customer-centric company. But I would say from the beginning here, we will be very focused on the strategies that have been in place, and we will be looking very clearly at moving in a direction of evolution towards a greater involvement with the Internet at each of our properties. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst And historically, Gannett more so I think than many of the newspaper publishers has been acquisition oriented. It has had quite a successful track record from an acquisition standpoint. So does this continue to be part of the strategy? You mentioned the Internet specifically? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Absolutely. We will continue to take a look at everything that makes sense to us in this space. If there are opportunities on the publishing side that we think will make good economic sense, we will pursue that. Same thing on the television side. But our real focus is in making sure that all the assets are creating greater value for us as we move into the future and how we can tie to the Internet from a total perspective. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst A couple of publishers have done fairly expensive acquisitions recently in the Internet space. I'm thinking of MarketWatch, About.com. Were those properties that you folks looked at that would have been relevant for you? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Yes, we did take a look at it. Obviously, the prices ultimately paid were something that we elected not to pursue. But of course, we had an interest in taking a look at it. I think the bigger picture here is really having the strategic vision as to where these pieces would sit as we all move forward.
  3. 3. 3 And that's really what our team is working on. As you mentioned, I just moved into this position. I think this is 65 days now. And we have been pretty active in moving about the entire company, assessing and looking at exactly what we have in the field, sitting with the employees and hearing a lot of great ideas and what employees’ thoughts are. The key here, however, is local. We do a great job at being local, and it's all about local and community. That's been a real high point of success for this company, and that will continue as we all move into the future here. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst One of the interesting aspects of the newspaper industry relative to other components of the local media business is - in some regards – it's relatively less consolidated than, say, television and radio are. Gannett has been an important consolidator. So you mentioned this is in passing, but is your expectation that there is going to be some significant further opportunities -- I don't know what the timeframe is -- for acquisition activity in the core newspaper business? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Absolutely. We will certainly take a look. You know what we have been able to do in the past. Our strategy has been very consistent under Doug's leadership. What we have been able to do is acquire assets and bring them into an operating environment that fits within the Gannett company. I expect that to continue as well. But if there are things that truly would make some sense, we will want to pursue them and take a look at them. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Maybe we should dig in a little bit into the different operating segments, particularly for the newspaper business. Ad revenue growth clearly has been disappointing this past year -- actually for the broadcasting industry as well. What makes it better? What's the catalyst that we can look for…? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President We have had, on the classified side, the employment and real estate have been working very well for us. When you take a look at a little broader view of all of it, frankly, auto has really been a struggle for us. So to make it better, we are going to have to see some opportunities in the auto segment. I say that because consistently across all operating units with the exception of USA TODAY that has been a concern for us this year. On the
  4. 4. 4 other hand, with USA TODAY, we have had some significant progress with the auto launches, etc., that we have seen page after page of that in USA TODAY. But as we look forward in what will make some differences, the demographic opportunities that we have. What we are trying to do is make sure that we can fill appropriate voids from a demographic standpoint. From the newspapers on a daily basis, where we have done a good job expanding our non-daily. We have over 900 non- dailies now. I think the exact count is 909 today. To be specific, for example, we have 14 young reader publications. What we're trying to do is identify very specifically within any given market where a new opportunity will be. We have found scores and scores of those across the country, and that has really developed for us. So that is a huge opportunity. Switching over to the broadcasting side, this has been a very, very tough year. I think you all are aware we had approximately $120 million net in Olympics and political in 2004 and it's a very, very tough comparison. Last year, it propped things up, and we had a wonderful year. On the underlying side to it, again, automotive has been very difficult. Retail certainly with the consolidations has become a bigger concern. And then, frankly, the restaurant business, our number three category on that side. Turning to the UK, what we have seen specifically, again, the automotive side – over there, they call it quot;motorsquot; – has taken a very sharp decline. This is the first time since the acquisition approximately 5 years ago of Newsquest that we've really had any kind of downturn. It's just been a wonderful opportunity for us over the years. But predominately, we are faced with some very tough economics over in the UK, and it has had a big impact on us. Back up for one second to the broadcast side: What we are seeing at this point, we have the NBC Olympics in Torino coming up in February. That, tied with a number of gubernatorial elections and issue opportunities within our markets, will play to our advantage. Again, the key in what we are after is to be number one or number two in each of the television markets. And from a July ratings Nielsen standpoint, we did an excellent job. We are where we want to be with the late and with the early morning news. We need some more help at this point from NBC, where that’s the largest part of our portfolio, being the largest NBC non-owned operator. CBS, on the other hand, has had some nice increases for us. Les Moonves has done a great job with prime time. Our
  5. 5. 5 portfolio there is six stations. We are the second largest CBS operator, and we've had some nice uptick there. And as well from ABC – we have three properties. With the programming they added in this past year, they have been a real lever for us in the positive direction. So we are seeing these things tied together most positively. Frankly from USA TODAY, we've had a pretty darn good year. A couple of the big categories, as I mentioned, automotive has done very well; technology has done very well. We anticipate this will continue. We are pleased with what has taken place from a price adjustment from 50 cents to 75 cents. That has worked very well for us. So that gives you a little bit of a sense of what we're looking at. That is where we are. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Thank you, that was very comprehensive. You brought up the issue of the price increase at USA TODAY, which is an interesting topic because I think there is a perception in the investment community that pricing power in the local media business has been diminished. It could be both on the circulation side for the newspapers or just as broadly on the advertising side. Do you think that is the case? Do you think there's much room for price increases to drive revenue growth over the next couple years, again, circulation or advertising? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President From the USA TODAY standpoint, from the price increase I just mentioned, we have had success. On a single copy basis, we have had a decline but when you take a look at the overall circulation revenue, it is up. In subscription as well as in our hotel business, it has created a nice offset. We are right on target. We’re very pleased with what we are seeing, and it has worked well for us. Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO Yes, USA TODAY expected to have single copy sale losses with the increase in pricing from 50 cents to 75 cents on about 800,000 copies. But they also anticipated that they would be able to offset that with more home delivery and others. The numbers are coming in as we had hoped in that arena. Also, USA TODAY has been successful over the last couple of years in raising pricing on the advertising side. The last 2 years, they have raised pricing 8% each year and they have not had significant push back in any way on that. We've seen the yield on that in their numbers. So that's been a terrific success story for us and certainly an anecdote on the pricing side. You may want to talk about local.
  6. 6. 6 Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Sure. In the mid- and smaller markets, price has just not been a problem for us, and we don't see that in the near-term being an issue. Overall, we are pleased with the results that we've seen from this. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst I think to some extent, it comes down to this overly simplified issue. Are the problems we are seeing in the local media marketplace now cyclical issues? Are they exacerbated to some extent by secular changes in the media market. Maybe you could just touch on that. But let me ask you a specific question related to that. Part of your response has been to create these newer products that you mentioned earlier. Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Absolutely. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Maybe you could also weave into the discussion a little bit about the economics of those products. Certainly, can they be meaningfully profitable? Can they move the needle for Gannett? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Well, the non-dailies, as I said, are really filling a void within the market. We’re seeing high teens, low 20s on a margin basis on those products that we have in the marketplace right now. And yes, it has made a very, very big difference for us. But there are changes in the marketplace, specifically, as I had mentioned earlier, with the 25 and under. We are seeing less opportunity to brand directly with those individuals. That's really where our Internet strategy is playing into this and how we can bridge that as we move from traditional into the electronic side with the known brands that we have. The real key is creating the opportunity for brand experience with that set. When you take a look at the buying opportunity that we have with the 25 and under, it's probably around a 9% factor in the marketplace. When you add 10 years of age to these individuals, they're going to be right in the Gannett sweet spot: the 35-year-old range is absolutely the best opportunity we have and --
  7. 7. 7 Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Let me interrupt. What gives you confidence that you can capture that reader, right, since you're not getting the 25 year olds? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Well, we have had tremendous success online. This year, we are running probably $255 million – $275 million business online between all of our properties. We're seeing a mid- to high 40s growth rate, and we see that continuing. The volume on a uniques basis is significant on a monthly basis, approximately 24 million uniques. I think we are what around 15% http://gannett.gci/corpdir/of the country at this point. We anticipate -- and certainly this ties back to the strategic planning that we're doing -- how we will bridge this audience through online as we move into the digital future. In a tethered and untethered environment, it makes no difference, we’ll be ubiquitous to whatever the platform may be and create the opportunity of being customer-centric. For us, it is all about anyplace, anytime, anywhere. The personalization, the customization opportunities that are being demanded and certainly required by the younger users today are very important to us. We also are seeing the divides from an advertising standpoint to support this. To date, we are profitable with our online operations in a significant way, and it's important that that continues. The strategies we are looking at in a forward view will be very consistent with that, in tying to the overall core assets that we have from the past. We are excited about it. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Just sticking on the Internet topic for a second, you certainly developed an interesting collection of interactive and new media assets. Maybe you've touched on some of this, but is it possible to give us kind of the big picture view of how you're trying to position yourself? And most importantly, how big and how profitable you think these businesses can be as a component of Gannett? Because at the moment, while you are getting great revenue traction, it doesn't really move the needle a whole lot.
  8. 8. 8 Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President That's correct. As I said, this is an area we are focusing on. I can tell you straight up we don't have the complete answer. That's really the focus of what we are working toward right now from a strategic standpoint with the senior management. All of our travels to date have been focused specifically on -- how do we create this kind of attraction for our Web opportunities? Our belief overall is that we can continue the kind of traction we have, and it will become significant in time. At this point, the real key is: How do we develop and continue with our core on the traditional side? How do we bridge that with our non-daily opportunities? How do we continue with our broadcast operations in a manner that will be beyond the even/odd cycles we are faced with? And how do we evolve this directly on the Internet side? That is where we're headed. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst One of the investors in the audience asks if your Internet strategy will continue to be tied as tightly as it is currently, or seems to be currently, with Tribune and Knight Ridder? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President We have a number of opportunities with CareerBuilder and so on that we have as partners, and we look at things together. More importantly, we look at things that are going to be of greatest value ultimately to the Gannett company. As I said earlier, there really isn't anything that we would not consider if it fits strategically with where we want to go. Of course, we're going to look first for what it might mean to Gannett and if it fits under the portfolio. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst I'm going to keep asking about the business for sure. But every one of the questions I'm getting from our studio audience is about capital structure, free cash flow. So I have to move the topic here to accelerate that.
  9. 9. 9 Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst And we will get Gracia into the discussion here too. The recurring theme is: You have got a lot of cash flow. You have got an under- leveraged balance sheet. Why don't you use a little more leverage, be a little less conservative, be more aggressive in buying back stocks, pay a higher dividend? We’ll start with that. Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO First of all, on the share repurchase side, as you know, we have been very active. Last year, we did about $1.7 billion in share repurchases. This year through the first 6 months, we've bought back about 10.6 million shares. We still have additional authorization and, given where the stock price is right at the moment, I think you can assume we will continue to be active on the share repurchase front. I think that we can accomplish a couple of things. One is, we can grow the company through acquisition, and we have been doing a great job. Doug has been a great capital allocater in terms of buying under-managed properties, adjusting the returns, getting great returns for shareholders and increasing those values. To the extent that there are those opportunities out there, we certainly will avail ourselves of them, as Craig mentioned. But those opportunities come up as they will. There can be periods when they don't come up. Or periods when they do come up, but from a pricing perspective they don't meet the disciplined criteria we have for acquisitions. We always look at acquisitions in the context of share repurchase versus acquisitions. We will do both, or we will do one more than the other because of either the opportunity set or we perceive that the ultimate value we can bring to the company, to shareholders, is better from one or the other. Right now, we believe that, given the dirth of large acquisitions, but as importantly, even some of the acquisition opportunities we've seen have not been priced in a way we would find attractive. We look at our own stock; we feel as though that is a very significant opportunity. We like, however, to have a solid credit rating, investment-grade rating because you can never tell when those acquisition opportunities are going to come up. We have been levering up the Company. We're at about $5.4 billion of debt. That is up considerably
  10. 10. 10 over the last couple of years. We will continue to use our free cash flow and perhaps more for either share repurchases or acquisitions or both. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst And I think you have an A rating currently? Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO Yes, we do. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst And is maintaining that rating particularly important? Is that a strategic focus? Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO It is important. But for the right opportunities, we would stretch the balance sheet. Then we would be disciplined in bringing that back into order. Certainly for the right opportunity, either on the acquisition front particularly or on the share repurchase front, we would stretch the balance sheet a little bit more. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst How about stretching the balance sheet to pay a higher dividend? Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO Frankly, we think that share repurchases return value to our shareholders just as well as dividends would. We have increased our dividend every year. We are getting no strong indication that folks want us to significantly raise our dividend. We are fully capable of doing that. But we do like the flexibility of share repurchases and the ability to ramp them up or ramp them down opportunistically a little bit more than we like the dividend side of things, particularly when we think that there may be acquisition opportunities down the road.
  11. 11. 11 Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Back to the business for a second. The national ad market in particular has been challenging for Gannett, for the whole industry, in 2005. Do you think this reflects some sort of structural change in the national ad categories that are important to you guys in particular? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President You know, on the USA TODAY side, we have been very fortunate. It is working very well for us. However, when we look at some of the larger metros and certainly in the broadcast division, we're seeing some pressure. What we are really focusing on is the local side at this point and further development as we move forward. We have been very successful. We can even talk about a couple on the newspapers side of programs we have done. Just briefly on the broadcast side, I will take that one for the moment. We have developed a new business development program; I guess this is about 4.5 years into it now. It has created some significant results. It has helped us offset some of the changes that we have seen. Some of the effects of what has happened to the national side, certainly in spot television, have had a big impact. But you may want to talk on the newspaper side as well. Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO On the national side in our local newspapers, national advertising is only about 7% or 8% of the pie. It's not as significant as at a USA TODAY, where it's most of the action. They have benefited from some categories over the past year on the telecom side with the various wars that are going on there. So that's been a good category for them. Financial, depending on the market, has been up or down. They're very focused on looking at that category and putting things together where they can sell more effectively a number of our sites on a one-stop shopping basis through various initiatives. We will be looking at those kinds of things more diligently.
  12. 12. 12 Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst I forgot to ask you one critical item on the capital structure issue. Is there -- I guess this relates to the rating issue -- but is there a limit in terms of the debt-to-EBITDA ratio you would be willing to go to? Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO We don't have any pre-specified limit, as I said earlier. We like being an investment- grade company because that gives us flexibility as acquisitions arise. We can address those acquisition opportunities and still maintain a strong balance sheet. While the rating agencies perhaps are more focused on specific ratios, we are more focused on what is the opportunity, and is that opportunity worth stretching the balance sheet more because we ultimately believe that it can add to shareholder value. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Retail sector accounts for still a disproportionately large share of revenues for Gannett and for the newspaper industry. Retail consolidation is a great concern in retail. Retail ad revenue numbers have looked particularly weak recently. What is your take on what is happening in that market? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President As you take a look at the consolidation, number one, we are going be impacted in 12 of our markets. So, yes, it will have an impact. Overall, however, we don't think that it's going to have to a substantive impact. In particular, what we are doing is paying attention in the mid- and small size markets, where we have a bit more control over how we can respond to this. Although there is no denying it, there will be impact once we understand how the individual pieces will fall. But at the same time, I think, we've been very good and diligent in the planning of how we are going to maneuver around this to a great extent. But it's taking place. It's something we have been paying very close attention to for a long time. On the broadcast side, different than print. We're seeing a number of opportunities that have come up on the network side because of the consolidation, which does not bode particularly well for us. In broadcast, as I had mentioned earlier, retail is our number two category. We have felt quite a bit of pressure in that. As we go forward, it's going to be a huge area of concentration for us.
  13. 13. 13 Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Would your expectation be that it will be a declining percentage of the total business on a go-forward basis? And if so, what replaces it? Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO Well, it's interesting. On the retail or local side, if you looked at us in the late '80s, you would have seen that those large retailers, the top – what we call the top 15 retailers in each market – would have represented probably two-thirds of our local revenue. At that time, we realized we could not depend on or have our fate determined by some of these large retailers, who would one year be in ROP, one year be in pre-prints, one year be on TV in a variety of different media. So we have been focused for the last decade on the small to medium-sized advertisers in our local communities. Today, when you look at our split, it's about two-thirds the small to medium-sized advertiser and about a third those top 15. Some of those non- daily publications that we have been talking about very specifically are looking at and bringing in many more advertisers that are small to medium sized, where we can have a greater impact than we can on a large advertiser that has an ad agency, that is going to be doing whatever it is they want to do in any given year. I think our focus on the small to medium-sized advertiser has paid off well for us. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Definitely. And that is reflected in the fact that you have had industry-leading revenue growth, I think. That was the positive. Now, I will give you the tough questions. We have seen yesterday, our friends at New York Times and Knight Ridder both doing very significant staff reductions and surprisingly focused on the newsroom. Basically really cutting in the core operation, where a lot of the headcount reductions up to now have been more of back office functions. I take this maybe as an indication of capitulation on their part that things are not getting better in the media business anytime soon. How would you react to that? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Number one, you're not seeing that type of thing happening at Gannett. For one reason: we are continuously monitoring that. It's not that we wake up tomorrow and find out that we've got an issue in certain areas. We run a very lean operation. I think you probably know that from our past history, and certainly that will continue. We are
  14. 14. 14 going to do what we need to do appropriately within the marketplace. There will be an ebb and flow with the numbers ultimately from a headcount perspective, but it won't be a big surprise to us where we are. We are very, very particular with any additions that we're going to put in. So I don't see that there will be any huge changes within that right away. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst How about related to that -- Gannett enjoys operating margins. I mentioned in the intro that broadcast margins certainly are among the highest in the industry. Likewise on the print side, operating margins among the highest in the industry. The irony of course is then we wonder if there is any upside to that level or perhaps greater downside because you have already cut costs so effectively. So the question is: Are there upsides to operating margins? Or should we anticipate modest declines over time? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Well, by a few things we have done, in particular with Detroit -- with that transaction: We think that despite the fact we are going to be in a very difficult market, we are going to have an opportunity there from a large market perspective to make a very big difference. We will be making the decisions in a way we think will grow the topside despite the health of the marketplace. For us, it will fit right into the way we have managed Gannett for a long time. You may want to expand just a bit on that. Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO I was just going to say, Peter, that on the one hand we anticipate we will continue to have the best margins in both of our industries. But at the same time, understand that we really don't manage the company for margin. We have added some pieces to the mix. Clipper Magazine, which is basically a glossy coupon magazine, is a direct-mail piece. That's a business that is growing at 20%-plus rates a year. It's going to be probably a 15% to 20% margin business for a very long time. But its growth rate is very strong. So we are delighted to have that in the family and would love to do more of those kinds of acquisitions. On the non-daily side, those products may never quite reach the margins that our core newspapers enjoy. At the same time, we have built a business that is now a $375 million to $400 million de novo business on the non-daily side that has high teens, low 20's margins. We are very pleased to have that kind of growth. Those are the kinds of initiatives we will have. We will continue to be very focused on the topside. But we are going to continue to grow the company to improve the cash flow.
  15. 15. 15 Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Is it impossible to think about then just the core community newspaper business? Are the margins in that business sustainable over time? Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO You know, that again is going to ebb and flow depending on where a variety of pieces are. Some of the cost pressures that all of us have seen in the industry in general have been on the healthcare side. That's a big problem for everyone in this country. We will have to see how that all plays out. The newsprint side, as we know, there has been upward pressure on newsprint pricing over the last couple of years, and there continues to be this year and probably into next. Those prices, as we know, over the last 15 to 20 years have ebbed and flowed. It will depend on where some of those pieces are. But we will do the very best job, as you know, on the expense side in making sure we continue to spend the dollars to improve the top line. Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President When you transfer over onto the digital side, we also see significant opportunity with rich media – as with our most recent acquisition, PointRoll. We have had immediate success with that. As a way to work through putting all the pieces together, we feel pretty comfortable with where all this is headed overall from a margin standpoint. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Presumably that Internet business would have considerably higher margins -- Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Absolutely. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst -- than the overall operation. Gracia, you mentioned newsprint. Another year of 8% to 10% increases next year?
  16. 16. 16 Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO It's probably a little bit too early to tell. We still need to finish up this year and see where we all end up. We've been very fortunate. In the first 6 months of the year, we had fixed-price contracts with about 75% or 80% of our suppliers. We did the same thing again on July 1st so we have been able to moderate some of those price increases that we've seen. As well, while the newsprint producers have reduced capacity either temporarily or permanently in some cases, the newspaper companies at the same time have responded with a variety of initiatives. These would be reducing waste and reducing Web widths. We’ve taken some single-wide presses and reduced Web widths. We're now looking at double-wides and doing some things there. We are looking at some lightweight newsprint where it makes sense for us and where the quality of it works in a particular plant. But, at the end of the day, to have some price stability and to do some things on a more long-term basis would benefit both the newsprint producers as well as ourselves. They've not been very fortunate in having a return on capital as they had wished. They have had to deal with currency issues and a variety of other issues, and we are sympathetic to that. But, at the same time, we also have a business to run. If there's some way to bring in longer-term pricing and some rationale into the business, as we have in the UK, that would probably make a little bit more sense. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst So from your mouth to the newsprint producers’s ears. Craig, the broad range of competitors to the traditional media companies, particularly the newspaper companies, love to denigrate the newspaper industry based on declining circulation; older, skewing demographics; high CPMs; etc. I think we even heard some of this this morning. These are the people that are all jealous of your operating margins. So how do you respond to that? In particular, give us your perspective on what the bull case is for the newspaper industry. Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Our whole point is in how we can best serve that customer base. There are all kinds of statements that haven't been made. At the end of the day, our goal is to create the greatest opportunities from that advertising side. We think with the mix of opportunities we have created -- as I had mentioned earlier with respects to the non- dailies and how that will supplement and augment what we're doing on the core side.
  17. 17. 17 Then certainly as we build that forward, the digital side and what that can mean in the cross platform sale, we are very confident in where we can go. It is a great opportunity as we see it. Over the next period of time here, we are going to be unfolding the strategy that we're working on today to develop into this area much, much further than we have today. We are excited about it. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Can you talk about what you think realistic long-term revenue or earnings per share growth rates are for Gannett? Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO Well, for instance on the Internet side right now, our Internet revenues are growing frankly at a faster pace than Internet revenues on average nationally. To the extent that we put more investment dollars into that arena, given that it seems to have higher growth rates at this moment, although albeit from a very low base. Certainly on that side, we would expect our growth rates would continue to be very strong. We will continue to work on the non-daily side. We're probably not going to start 909 more publications in the next 2 years, but we will continue to grow that and increase our audience in all of the local markets that we serve, which we think is very important. Then the core business will depend on the categories and what is up and what is down. On the Newsquest side, we've had a wonderful run there. The economy there has been more difficult and they are having a tougher time this year. If you look at our core U.S. newspapers, absent Newsquest, we're actually having a fairly okay year. Employment advertising has been very good, as has real estate. Auto, as we discussed before, has been challenged this year. But overall, we've had a reasonably good year in the core newspaper side. As long as we continue to follow our customers and meet the needs they have in our local communities and be focused on creating the products that meet those needs, we can sustain good growth rates vis-à-vis GDP and everything else. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Newsquest -- obviously you have brought it up a couple times -- has been a great contributor the last couple of years -- problematic this year. Macro environment is
  18. 18. 18 difficult we know. How important is the international operation going to be to you on a go-forward basis? I think about 20% of revenues … Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO A little over $1 billion. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Is there opportunity for more acquisition there? Is it going to be a bigger scale? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Yes, we think there is. As we said earlier, the first 5 years have been terrific from a currency standpoint as well as the management team that we have in place. Frankly, the acquisition would not have happened had we not been able to secure this management team. We think there is greater opportunity in the UK and beyond with this group -- ought to continue to pursue what we have done already. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Within the UK or--? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Within the UK, absolutely. We've been very successful up in Scotland at this point. So we are very pleased with those kinds of results and certainly would anticipate we will continue to grow it. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst How about outside the UK? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President We've had some experience, and this goes back a number of years, where we were involved with newspapers in a number of other countries. Frankly, we have learned a few lessons. If we don't speak the language, it is a little tough for us to read. We want to be very careful so that we can really control and manage in the way that we have for years. We're likely going to stay within the arena that we're in, unless there is
  19. 19. 19 something really significant that comes up that would make good sense. We are very pleased and still see that there is significant upside within the areas we are in right now. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst How about just two more questions? The circulation environment, problematic for a while but particularly troublesome for the industry overall in the last year or so. How important is circulation growth? How realistic is it to anticipate that you can grow circulation? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Circulation, obviously it's important overall. But at the same time, it goes right back to that customer base and how we can support the ad side and the customer side. From that, we're still very confident in the direction that we're headed with all of this. You may want to be specific from the paper side. Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO Yes, I was going to say that certainly circulation is one important part of the audience that we attract in the local communities we serve. With the non-daily products we have started and with the online sites we have and various other initiatives, we are looking at an aggregation of eyeballs in some of those local markets that are very strong. For instance, in our Phoenix market where we have azcentral.com, which is an extremely successful Web site between our newspaper, our television station plus our non-daily products. Our penetration in that market is something in excess of 75%. Similarly, in Brevard in Florida where again we own the newspaper, and have extended the brand through our non-daily publications as well as a terrific Web site. Our aggregation in that marketplace is in excess of 80%. Circulation clearly is a piece of that. But what we are trying to do is with the various products we have, aggregate eyeballs and then find ways to further monetize those eyeballs either in a niche way, in a targeted way or in a mass way. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst In those examples, do you find you are gaining relative share in terms of the local media markets?
  20. 20. 20 Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President Absolutely. Another example we are working on right now is in Wilmington (DE). What we've done there is create a streamed news site that is a direct connect with our newspaper. We have two newscasts a day that are streamed on the Internet at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.. I am sure we have some employers that are a little upset with us because we have a tremendous tune-in. We're certainly seeing, from a unique standpoint, a great development there. We are finding there are other ways we can account and really grow the eyeball opportunity. Again, if it's going to make the difference, creating the results for the advertiser, that's what they are after. All we are trying to do is find more opportunity and create that directly for them. We're being very successful with that. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst August results for you folks for the industry overall were particularly weak. Is it a hiccup? Is it indicative of something more significant? Gracia Martore - Gannett - CFO You can start with our results. Then when you look on the broadcast side, we had both an incredibly successful Olympic and election spending in August of last year. It was about $37 million of net revenue that we generated. So clearly on the broadcast side, we had quite a mountain of success from last year that we had to face. And, as Craig mentioned earlier, the auto side, which is about 30% of our TV revenue, has not been where any of us would have liked it. On the newspaper side, USA TODAY had part of that same phenomena. They had several million dollars of Olympic revenue last year. I think their revenues were up in the 25% plus range last year. So we had very tough comps. Our advertising revenue in total was up about 10.7% so it was our second-best month last year in August. While we all want to have great months every month, we're going to take a look and see where we are in September. Again, the core business side, the core newspaper side domestically, they had good employment follow through, good real estate follow through but the auto category is a little softer and then Newsquest's softness as well.
  21. 21. 21 Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Last question -- sort of by way of wrap up. Any thoughts, Craig, in terms of how Gannett might look differently 5 years from now versus today, whether it's in terms of business mix, financial performance profitability, any capital structure? Craig Dubow - Gannett - CEO, President What we're looking to do, we want to make sure we're totally customer-centric. To us, it is hugely important we can provide our products anywhere, anytime. To the extent that we can further extend our core assets, to the extent that we can fill the voids, to the extent that we can grow our broadcast opportunities by creation of our own new programming, original programming and enhance that from a local news perspective, time that directly with our online as well as untethered operations is really what we're looking at. We think there is a tremendous opportunity there. The key is again -- I mentioned it earlier: It's all about being local. When you consider the scale of our company and the feet that we have on the ground, the opportunity that we have, in my view, is absolutely incredible. How we are going to piece that together in the future will evolve in part by what we're doing to create that success. That is what we are looking for. Peter Appert - Goldman Sachs - Analyst Great. Well, thanks very much to Craig and Gracia for joining us this afternoon. Certain statements in this transcript may be forward looking in nature or “forward looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward looking statements contained in this transcript are subject to a number of risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual performance to differ materially from these forward looking statements. A number of those risks, trends and uncertainties are discussed in the company’s SEC reports, including the company’s annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Any forward looking statements in this transcript should be evaluated in light of these important risk factors. Gannett Co., Inc. is not responsible for updating the information contained in this transcript beyond the published date, or for changes made to this document by wire services or Internet service providers.

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