It's been an interesting year for newspaper publisher Gannett (GCI). The entire industry has been under fire in recent years, as recession-induced advertising declines collided with increased competition from online sources to create a perfect storm of revenue declines for "old media" names like Gannett. While the firm is bouncing back from a fundamental standpoint, it'd probably be wise to steer clear of this stock's intermediate price hiccups until it can further diversify its revenue stream.
Gannett at least realizes that changes need to be made for the company to remain viable. Management has been adding television properties and online services to its portfolio of businesses, more than doubling its non-publishing revenues in the last decade. The real surprise may be just how important Gannett's publishing business still is.New ways of monetizing content -- such as Apple's (AAPL) iPad and its forthcoming Newsstand -- are providing companies such as Gannett with a way to market and sell its content to users who are willing to pay for recurring subscriptions on their digital devices. Execution remains the part that traditional publishers such as Gannett continue to grapple with. That said, if management can capitulate to the demands of the market, the company has a chance to make meaningful improvements to its business. In the meantime, management doubled the firm's quarterly dividend last week, hiking its payout to 8 cents per share. As of the most recently reported period, Gannett was a holding in Warren Buffett's portfolio.
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