Tough times at McClatchy — A quarterly loss and four assets sold
McClatchy closed the books today on a rocky third quarter with an earnings report yesterday showing a small loss of $2.6 million (1 percent on revenues of $277.6 million).
But CEO Pat Talimantes instead opened the conference call with analysts offering commentary on a much bigger issue, what he described as “important events that have sealed our financial flexibility.”
An unfriendly commentator might describe those “events” as a yard sale. So far in 2014, McClatchy has sold four separate and substantial assets. The largest of them, in a deal with Gannett closed the first week in October, was a 25.6 percent stake in Classified Ventures’ Cars.com, which will bring in $631.8 million before taxes, $406 million after.
Earlier this year McClatchy sold its stake in Apartments.com (another part of Classified Ventures) It also sold its half of McClatchy/Tribune Information Services to Tribune and the Alaska Daily News to wealthy investor Alice Rogoff. Those transactions generated another $181 million.
Talamantes said the cash infusion will go to investments in “digital transformation” and to pay down some high-interest (9 percent) debt.
On the operating side McClatchy had a year-to-year third quarter decline in advertising of 8.2 percent. Print advertising was down 11 percent. Though national advertising makes up only a small part of the total (about 7 percent), it was off 23.2 percent for the quarter compared to 2013, which was not a good year for national either.
Trends were better in audience revenues and remaining digital businesses, Talamantes said. With continuing diversification the company now gets 64 percent of revenue from categories other than print advertising.
Under questioning from analysts, Talamantes said McClatchy was unlikely to acquire any of the 76 Digital First papers or others up for sale. “We would rather invest n opportunities in our markets … (with) greater digital resources.”
McClatchy continues an affiliation agreement with Cars.com and Apartments.com., but going forward it will need to split some the proceeds of sales with the new owners, thus reducing the revenue it realizes.
Also, while McClatchy will continue to look for savings, he declined to predict that expenses will fall in t he fourth quarter or in early 2015. Digital transformation is essential, Talamantes said, “and that requires some investment.”
For the day, McClatchy shares were up slightly in mid-afternoon trading. However they have now lost roughly half their value from a 2014 high April 2 of $6.81. Other newspaper-only stocks including the New York Times Company (which has sold many non-core assets in recent years) and Lee Communications have declined in value since the spring but not nearly so much.
Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, Anders Gyllenhaal, Alexandra Zayas among additions to Poynter’s National Advisory Board
The Poynter Institute announced Thursday the addition of five journalism leaders to its National Advisory Board, including Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, senior editor for strategy at The New York Times and Anders Gyllenhaal, vice president of news at the McClatchy Company.
Each of the board members have gained widespread recognition for their work and developed reputations as journalism innovators, Poynter president Tim Franklin said in a release accompanying the announcement.
“They’ll be invaluable partners for Poynter as we transform the institute to make it even more relevant and useful for media executives, practitioners, educators and students,” Franklin said. “We’ll benefit greatly from having their expertise and knowledge on the advisory board.”
The new members will each serve two-year terms on the 10-person board, which advises Poynter’s faculty and staff on trends shaping various media industries. They replace current board members whose terms expire at the beginning of the year.
Here’s the full list of new board members:
- Arthur Gregg Sulzberger: Sulzberger is the primary author of The New York Times innovation report and the senior editor for strategy at The New York Times.
- Anders Gyllenhaal: Gyllenhaal is the vice president of news at the McClatchy Company and former editor of the Miami Herald (2007 to 2010) and the Minnseapolis Star Tribune (2002 to 2007).
- Lori Bergen: Bergen is the dean of the J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University and was named 2014 Journalism and Mass Communication Administrator of the Year by the Scripps Howard Foundation. She is also the incoming president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
- Emilio Garcia-Ruiz: As managing editor of digital at The Washington Post, Garcia-Ruiz is The Post’s chief strategist for digital execution and the newsroom’s top liaison with business operations for digital programs.
- Alexandra Zayas: Zayas, a reporter for The Tampa Bay Times, has won several prizes for her investigative reporting, including the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. She was a 2013 Pulitzer finalist for a series of stories that investigated abusive conditions at unlicensed religious group homes.
The following members are leaving Poynter’s National Advisory Board at the beginning of the year:
- Philip Bennett, director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke University.
- David Boardman, dean of Temple University’s School of Media and Communication.
- Mónica Guzmán, a columnist at The Seattle Times.
- David Nordfors, president and co-founder of IIIJ.
- Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute.
Callie Schweitzer named editorial director for audience strategy at Time Inc.
Time Inc. has named Callie Schweitzer its editorial director for audience strategy, Time Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs and Time Inc. EVP Todd Larsen tell staffers in a memo (below).
Schweitzer joined Time last August after hitches at Vox Media and Talking Points Memo. In her new role she’ll “continue to oversee the social team, editorial technology, content partnerships and newsletters at TIME while working on a variety of digital initiatives at the corporate level,” the memo says.
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We are delighted to announce that Callie Schweitzer has been named Editorial Director, Audience Strategy for TIME and Time Inc.
In a remarkably short time, Callie has come to play a unique role across departments, and, increasingly, across brands at Time Inc. Though based in TIME editorial, she has from almost day one worked with executives and editors throughout the company to help identify new digital opportunities and expand our existing audiences.
This promotion for Callie formalizes that role. She will continue to oversee the social team, editorial technology, content partnerships and newsletters at TIME while working on a variety of digital initiatives at the corporate level. She will have a dual report to Time Inc. Chief Content Officer Norman Pearlstine and to Time.com Managing Editor Edward Felsenthal.
Since joining TIME last year, Callie has been a key leader on the team driving the expansion of Time.com. In overseeing the social team, she has led the site to a record 20 million monthly social referrals, a 227% increase over last year. TIME’s combined social followings now exceed 20 million, the largest at Time Inc. Its daily newsletter, The Brief, has more than 600,000 subscribers with open rates averaging 40%, nearly twice the industry average.
Prior to joining Time Inc., Callie was Director of Marketing and Communications at Vox Media, publisher of The Verge, SB Nation and Polygon. There, she helped introduce and launch Polygon, the video game vertical, and Vox Creative, an in-house creative services wing. Before that, Callie was Deputy Publisher of Talking Points Memo, responsible for mobile, video and content partnerships and increasing audience growth. She has written for a variety of outlets. Named two years in a row as one of Forbes‘ 30 Under 30 in Media, Callie is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism—and was for two summers an intern at People.
Please join us in wishing Callie every success in her new role.
Nancy and Todd