The impact of war on media companies was a matter of some debate heading into the Iraq invasion.
experience suggests it has been less than salubrious.
The media company revised its expected first-quarter earnings Wednesday, saying the war chilled ad sales in the last two weeks of March.
Television advertisers have rethought their short-term buying strategies and have canceled ads that were scheduled for the second part of March, the company said. Furthermore, Gannett's
has seen advertisers cancel or put off ad buying.
Gannet now expects earnings to be at the low end of its previously forecast range of 94 cents to 96 cents a share. Analysts expect 95 cents a share. The company earned 91 cents a share in the year-earlier period.
In the midst of a powerful market rally, Gannett's shares were recently up 8 cents to $72.
McLean, Va.-based Gannet will announce its earnings on April 15.
Gannett's news comes on the heels of the
New York Times'
warning early last week that full-year 2003 earnings could be hurt by the war.
"We have recently seen a weakening as a result of the war, particularly in travel-related categories such as airlines and hotels," the Times said.