November 13, 2015 Last Updated 12:43 pm

Journal Media Group, soon to be acquired by Gannett, reports small Q3 loss

Earnings report is the first for the new company which combines the newspaper properties of Journal Communications with those of the E.W. Scripps Company

The soon to be acquired newspaper company, Journal Media Group, reported its third quarter earnings this morning. The publisher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported a small operating loss of about half a million dollars.

MJS-11-13-15Comparing the company’s results against prior quarters is nearly impossible as the company was only formed this year with the combination of the newspapers from the E.W. Scripps Company and Journal Communications. Journal Media Group picked up the print properties and shed debt, while EW Scripps went all in on broadcast. The new newspaper company then quickly announced that it would be acquired by Gannett.

“We’re eager to bring our commitment to serving local markets to our new and larger family in the future, while continuing to realize operating efficiencies that will enable us to deliver on our promise to strengthen lives and communities,” said Tim Stautberg, president and CEO of Journal Media Group.

The deal with Gannett is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

So, what will Gannett get in the deal? Besides the paper in Milwaukee, Gannett will also be acquiring The Commercial Appeal and News Sentinel in Tennessee, the Ventura County Star in California, as well as papers in Florida.

What they won’t be acquiring, apparently, is a P&L running in the black – though losses may be reversed through Gannett’s patented slash and burn. Look for cuts to come in the newsroom and production. The Q3 loss looks small enough that it easily could have shown a profit for the quarter if costs were lower.

Now all that is needed is for revenue not to decline, right? Unfortunately, Journal Media said ad revenue in Q3 fell 10 percent, while subscription revenue declined 5 percent. That’s actually better than what Gannett reported in its Q3 earnings report in October, where it said ad revenue fell 13 percent in the Q3.

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