61. Gannett Co. Inc.
Revenues 2016: $ 3.047 billion (€ 2.753 billion)
Gannett Co., Inc. owns the largest newspaper chain in the USA, its most important product being the USA Today. 43 TV channels as well as production companies and various ad-financed online services complete the portfolio.
Headquarters: 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, Virginia 22107-0910 , USA
Branches: Newspapers, Magazines, News Agency, Printing houses, TV stations, TV Production, Cable Networks, Internet-Services
Legal Form: Stock Corporation
Financial Year: 01/01 - 12/31
Founding Year: 1906
|Revenues ($ Mio.)||3,047||2,885||6,008||5,161||5,353||5,240||5,439||5,612||6,767||7,439||8,033|
|Profit (Loss) after taxes ($ Mio.)||52||146||298||446||424||459||588.201||355||(6.647)||1,055||1,160|
|Share Price (in $, end of the year)||9,71||16.12||31.75||27.34||18.01||13.19||15.09||10.31||8.00||39.00||60.03|
|*after spin-off of TV segment|
Executives and Directors
- Robert Dickery, CEO
- Maribel Wadsworth, Chief Transformation Officer
- Alison Engel, CFO
- Barbara Wall, CLO
- John Zidich, President, Domestic Publishing
- Jamshid Khazenie, CTO
- Andy Yost, CMO
- Henry Faure Walker, CEO, Newsquest Media
- David Harmon, CPO
- Kevin Gentzel, CRO
- Joanne Lipman, CCO
- Amber Allman, VP, Corporate Events & Communication
- Alex Meza, VP, Corporate Development
- Sharon Rowlands, CEO, ReachLocal
Board of Directors:
- John Jeffrey Louis, Chairman
- Robert Dickey, Gannett
- Matthew W. Barzun
- John E. Cody, Broadcast Music, Inc.
- Stephen W. Coll, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University
- Donald Felsinger, Sempra Energy
- Lila Ibrahim, Coursera
- Larry Kramer, Gannett
- Tony Prophet, Salesforce
- Debra A. Sandler, LaGrenade Group
- Chloe Sladden, Twitter
In 1906, Frank Gannett founded the company with the acquisition of local newspaper ‘Elmira Gazette’ based in the state of New York. The economic strategy that would turn Gannett into North America’s largest newspaper publisher had already been apparent at that point in time. Gannett bought the ‘Gazette’ for 20.000 Dollars and financially tarnished competitor paper ‘Star’ at the same time. His philosophy was the creation of local newspaper monopolies. Up to his death in 1957, Gannett collected 21 newspapers, mostly regional papers in the state of New York. His successor Paul Miller expanded into bigger cities, even as far as Honolulu and Guam. Gannett bought Multimedia Inc. in 1995 for 2.3 billion Dollars, the largest deal in the history of the company heretofore. Multimedia Inc. added ten more local and regional newspapers, five TV stations and two radio stations to Gannett’s armada. Multimedia Inc. had also been the operator of cable networks in five American states, which were sold to Cox Communications for 2.7 billion Dollars in 1999. In 1996, Gannett sold subsidiary company Louis Harris & Associates (Opinion Polls) to Gordon S. Black Corp and disposed of his outdoor advertising corporations, selling them to Outdoor Systems for 690 million Dollars. In 2000, Gannett acquired the newspaper chain Central Newspapers Inc. for 2.6 million Dollars and 21 newspapers from Canadian company Thompson Corp.
On the 15th of July 2005, Craig A. Dubrow took over the double function of president and CEO from Douglas H. McCorkindale, who remained the chairman until 2007. 50-year-old Dubrow has been a top manager since 2001 and most recently was responsible for 21 TV channels, of which some are amongst the leading stations in the USA. He has been working for Gannett for 24 years. His career began at KPRC-TV in Houston, Texas where worked in production and advertising. In 1981, he arrived at Gannett’s and went on to sell advertising slots for the TV channel K*USA-TV in Denver. He continued to climb up the ranks and took over the leadership of a channel for the first time in 1990 in Austin, Texas. In 1996, he was appointed to the management of a whole station chain until he finally took over the leadership as a whole in 2000/2001.
The company attached value on corporate responsibility and the public image of its engagement(s). The company invested approximately 11.2 billion Dollars into the support of the Gannett Foundation in 2005. The foundation promotes and supports education and schooling, youth work and family programs, courses for journalists and is involved in disaster relief (Hurricane Katrina 2005) through presents.
On its homepage, the company proudly announces that is was chosen one of the ’25 best Places for Blacks to Work’ by ‘Black Enterprise’ magazine as well as being one of the most female friendly as chosen by ‘Working Mother Magazine’. Gannett also appears on the list of ‘Best Companies for Women’. 45 % of the employees are female and every fourth is not white. In 1999, USA Today was the first American national newspaper to sport a female editor in chief with Karen Jurgensen. It seems that women and all other members of minorities have (relatively) good career chances in the company. If you believe the statements coming from the house of Gannett, there seems to be a rather pleasant employer hiding behind the façade of the mega-corporation that is synonymous with paper for the masses. However, 45 Pulitzer awards for its employees prove that the company is not all about superficial mass journalism at all. According to Gannett’s own statistics, there have been 1237 more professional awards that can be added to the list of decorations. In 1999, Gannett distinguished the company’s profile even further through the passing of an ethical code of conduct for journalists. The group also recently strengthened efforts to embed its journalistic standards. Yet, all those initiatives and efforts cannot belie the group’s innermost goals. Winning a price for good journalism is “no priority”, said former CEO Douglas McCorkindale. He emphasised: “Gannett will never surprise the analysts at Wall Street.”
By the end of March 2008, Craig Moon announced his resignation from the position of publisher at USA Today before April and his intention to leave Gannett after 23 years of collaboration. He did not voice any specific reasons or plans for the future. The Internet supposedly created additional possibilities for the development of innovative ‘business models’ which he seeks to explore with his (future) partner (Verbatim Moon). In April 2009, David Hunke was announced to be Moon’s successor.
Gannett owns 85 daily newspapers in the USA, including USA Today, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Des Moines Register, Army Times and Navy Times, which make it the largest newspaper chain in the USA with a daily total of 7.2 million copies sold altogether. Furthermore, Gannett publishes 800 US magazines. Following the acquisition of the British Newsquest Media Group, Gannett publishes about 300 titles in England, including 18 newspapers.
Gannett’s portfolio also includes the only ‘real’ nationwide newspaper in the States, USA Today, of which the international issue became a little piece of home for each US citizen around the world. USA Today, founded in 1982 by Allen Neuharth whose goal it was to offer an alternative to the colourless and plain papers such as The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, is the newspaper with the largest circulation in the USA (2.3 million copies), which makes it bigger than The Wall Street Journal. USA Today is television you can read, superficial, short and unobtrusive. The paper, which is essentially of an optimistic and pro-American nature, usually relies on ‘soft’ news instead of hard news, Motto: “Important is what the reader wants’. For example, the first issue (14th of September 1982) already featured the fatal accident of Monaco’s princess Gracia Patricia, formerly known as Grace Kelly, as lead story instead of the assassination of Lebanese president Bashir Gemayel.
Despite the advertising crisis, Gannett tried to appease the investors with lower costs. Therefore, the company downsized the editorial office of USA Today by approximately 5% (100 people) to 1900 employees. In order to win over young readers under 35, Gannett founded free tabloid papers in Michigan, Idaho, Cincinnati and Louisville (among others), such as Noise, Cin or Insider, which compete with alternative weekly papers.
Over the last years and up to this day, the circulation of USA Today has hardly changed and remained steady at 2.3 million copies. Maybe the new editor in chief, Ken Paulson, who stepped into the footsteps of Karen Jurgensen in April 2004, can unfurl a dynamic and long-term change. After the mockery that the USA Today had to endure due to the questionable quality of its content, the quality considerably increased as of recently, that is, in the eyes of professional observers at least.
The paper now operates foreign correspondence offices in London, Paris and Hong Kong, although the concept of a foreign correspondent had not been entertained up to the early 90ies at all. Occasionally, the newspaper still appears to be nothing but the mouthpiece of the US government. The paper, which used to be stricken with losses in its early days, makes moderate profit by now. Nowadays, the US edition of USA Today is produced in the USA as well as at international printers, including Frankfurt/Main, London, Hong Kong and Luzern. The umbrella term USA Today also incorporates USA Today Sports Weekly and USA Weekend. USATODAY.com is online since April 1995. The online version is not a one-to-one copy of the newspaper content. The online newspaper is a news service of its own, updated around the clock by an editorial office sporting 82 employees, plus offering various other services.
The step into the electronic media business translated to a whole new orientation for the company’s strategy as a whole. Gannett and his 23 TV stations constitute one of the ten largest TV groups in the country after all. The 21 TV stations that Gannett took over in 1995 made a high turnover thanks to the Olympic games and the presidential election. When it comes to TV productions, Gannett first and foremost specialises in talk shows: TV formats ‘Donahue’, one of the oldest shows in the genre and ‘Rush Limbaugh: The Television Show’ by radical conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh were both produced by Gannett. Both were cancelled in the meantime. The line-up also includes the controversial ‘Jerry Springer’ show. Commerce did not always have the upped hand over content at Gannett’s: By his own account, Gannett flew in employees from all of his channels in order to help out the local station after the bomb attack of Oklahoma City in 1998. The 21 TV stations reach 20 % of the American population, once again by Gannett’s own account. Each channel also operates a locally orientated online site with news, entertainment and advertising content, both in text and video. In April 2004, the company bought Captivate Network Inc., which installed televisions in elevators in more than 400 buildings and plans to extend its activity to 1000 more buildings.
The web services by the ‘Gannett Online Network’ are financed through advertising revenues. 99 local newspaper editorial offices and 20 TV channels in the USA create the web content, which - according to the Nielsen/Net Ratings - registered approximately 23 million unique visitors in October 2007. The 80 online publications for Great Britain register about 3 million users per month.
In 1995, Gannett and eight other publishing houses, including Advance Publications, Cox Newspapers, Hearst, The New York Times and Tribune Company founded online newspaper service ‘New Century Network’. The aim was to create a shared online advertising platform as well as a conjoint search engine for news. The collaboration failed after less than three years. It was not until 1996 that Gannett backed a cooperative model again. Together with Knight Rider and Landmark Communications, Gannett developed an online publishing system, InfiNet, which enjoyed a slightly longer existence but completely devolved into Gannett’s control in 2003. Gannett is involved in special online programs such as 4Info.net, a mobile network service provider, or the CareerBuilder.com platform.
By the end of November 2006, 176 newspaper publishers, including Gannett and Cox Enterprises finalised an elaborate contract with Yahoo that included – but was not limited to – focused marketing of advertising through the Internet. The cooperation also encompasses the collaborative usage of content and new digital technologies. Within the first phase, the newspapers’ employment ads will be linked with the respective Yahoo pages. In the long term, the newspapers’ content will be furnished with tags in order to optimise the search function.
Other: Strategic investments were made in online advertising and search technologies. Partnership contracts were made with online companies, which are active in the fields of employment ads, car and real estate business. Gannett is also involved in the mobile network information service through 4INFO.
the Open Society Foundations' Media Program,
Germany's Federal Agency for Civic Education,
the Rudolf Augstein Foundation,
the city of Cologne, Germany,
and the State of Thuringia, Department of Commerce.