Gannett Co., the largest U.S. newspaper publisher, said Friday that its second-quarter profit more than doubled as the industry's advertising slump eased.
Gannett, which owns USA Today, more than 80 other daily newspapers and 23 TV stations, is a bellwether for other publishers. The New York Times Co., Lee Enterprises Inc. and McClatchy Co. report earnings over the next two weeks.
Like other publishers, Gannett has seen the rate of decline in its print ad business taper off as the recession fades. At the same time, its TV stations have started to rebound, helped by an uptick in automotive advertising and ads tied to political campaigns.
Gannett has also reduced expenses through layoffs and consolidation of operations such as printing plants. Second-quarter expenses were down 12 percent.
That helped Gannett report net income of $195.5 million, or 81 cents per share, for the three months ended June 27, up from $70.5 million, or 30 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, Gannett would have earned 61 cents per share. That beats analysts' forecast of 53 cents per share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.
Revenue slipped 1.6 percent to $1.37 billion from $1.39 billion a year ago. It was the smallest decline in three years, though analysts expected $1.4 billion.
Despite the higher results, Gannett shares slipped 36 cents to $14.75 in pre-opening trading.
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