Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fitch: Newspaper Outlook worse than expected


Among the specific companies it cites:

Gannett Co. where USA Today ad pages fell 17% compared to last year, and real estate classifieds at its community papers plunged 20%.

Tribune Company, where help-wanted classified tumbled 19%, and real estate shrank by 24%. (Fitch has Tribune on a "Ratings Watch Negative," anticipating a further downgrading of its credit.)

The McClatchy Co., where real estate collapsed by 26%, and automotive plunged 20%.

Dow Jones & Co., where ad volume fell 20% on a 75% tumble in technology-related ads.

Newspaper industry ad weakness, Fitch concludes in a report subhed, is "More Secular than Cyclical" -- meaning much, if not all, of the declines will be permanent.