GateHouse Media — which publishes around 87 dailies and 271 weeklies mainly in the Northeast, Midwest and California — yesterday reported a first-quarter loss of $17.5 million, which was not as bad as the $31.9 million lost a year ago.
Adjusted revenue of $132.6 million was down 3.8% from the first quarter of 2009. Ad revenue slipped 2%. Online ad revenue rose 9.7%, and classified ad revenue ticked up 0.9%. The company said that overall revenue decline resulted mainly from declining revenue from the circulation and commercial printing categories.
The narrowed loss was partly due to declining operating costs and other expenses, which fell by $12.5 million from the year-ago quarter. “The Company has been able to successfully reduce compensation expense on a permanent basis,” GateHouse said. The company said that it expects rising newsprint prices to impact its results going forward.
“On a more cautionary note we are concerned with expense trends as the year progresses,” said CEO Michael Reed in a statement. “We will begin to cycle through the cost reduction efforts of 2009 by this summer and newsprint prices will be up year over year for the remainder of this year. With that in mind, we will continue to explore further cost reduction initiatives.”