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Gannett reports lower 2Q net income

NEW YORK (AP) -- Gannett Co. reported a 21 percent drop in net income for the second quarter Monday, but the media company's earnings excluding one-time expenses beat Wall Street's expectations, sending its stock higher.

The company reported earnings of $119.9 million, or 51 cents per share, in the April-June period. That compared with $151.5 million, or 62 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Gannett, which is based in McLean, Va., owns USA Today and 81 other newspapers, 23 television stations and several digital businesses. Without the one-time charges —related to an early retirement plan, a pension settlement and other one-time items— Gannett earned 56 cents per share in the latest quarter.

Revenue slid 2 percent to $1.31 billion from $1.33 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of 53 cents per share on revenue of $1.32 billion.

President and CEO Gracia Martore said all of Gannett's business segments were "solidly profitable in the second quarter," as broadcasting and digital operations posted strong revenue growth. Company-wide digital revenue grew 13 percent, which Martore said shows that the company's new subscription model is paying off. Gannett began charging readers for online access to many of its local newspapers earlier this year.

Nonetheless, advertising demand was "uneven" and "choppy," the company said. Ad revenue at Gannett's newspaper publishing segment fell 8 percent to $594.3 million from $646.9 million a year earlier. Total revenue dropped 6 percent, to $920.3 million from $977.1 million.

Broadcasting revenue climbed 11 percent to $205.4 million from $184.4 million, helped by stronger political and auto-related TV advertising, as well as growth at Gannett's Captivate business, which shows ads in elevators.

Martore said the company expects the Olympics and political spending to bolster results in the second half of the year.

Gannett's stock rose 44 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $14.75 in early afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a range of $8.28 and $16.26 over the last year.