In his first appearance on an earnings call since taking medical leave in June, CEO and chairman Craig Dubow told investors that he’s still working towards a full recovery. While he was talking about his personal health, he also could have been thinking of Gannett’s situation as well. While the company was able to beat analysts’ estimates, Q3 profits and revenues both experienced continued declines.
As for turning things around at the McLean, VA.-based publisher, Dubow highlighted its return to the bond market with a $500 million debt sale, before turning to its digital efforts. In particular, Dubow focused on ContentOne and the recent companywide summit designed to push its various properties to make content sharing more of a reality at Gannett (NYSE: GCI). As an example, Dubow mentioned a cross-platform ad campaign for National Breast Cancer, which was anchored by the MomsLikeMe series of local blogs and spread to Gannett’s newspapers. He also touted Gannett flagship’s USA Today’s digital moves, including its new e-edition and app rollouts.
During the Q&A, EVP/CFO Gracia Martore took most of the questions. But Dubow handled the final one on whether Gannett is considering charging for digital premium content. “We’ve done a lot of research and we’re continuing to look at it,” Dubow said. He then stepped back to emphasize that the company’s digital focus remains on building audience. He didn’t indicate whether he felt instituting a pay wall would impact those efforts.