UPDATE 1-Gannett profit, revenue rise on strength of local TV

Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:25am EDT

(Adds details about newspaper and broadcast divisions)

April 23 (Reuters) - Gannett Co reported a rise in first-quarter revenue and profit as its acquisition of Belo Corp's broadcast TV stations buoyed the company's results on Wednesday.

Gannett, the publisher of USA Today, owns broadcast TV stations and is the largest newspaper chain in the U.S.

The company has made strides over the past 12 months to beef up its TV division, which is more lucrative than daily newspapers. Last year it bought Belo for $1.5 billion, nearly doubling its broadcast TV holdings to more than 40 stations.

Gracia Martore, president and CEO of Gannett, said in a statement the new broadcast stations contributed to the company's growth.

Broadcast revenue rose nearly 100 percent to $382.3 million because of higher advertising sales related to the Winter Olympics and fees paid by cable operators to carry local TV channels.

Still, newspapers represented about 60 percent of Gannett's total first-quarter revenue and the challenges plaguing the industry have not abated.

Advertising revenue for the publishing division fell almost 5 percent to $526.5 million and circulation revenue, considered a growth area for newspapers, decreased 1.4 percent to $282.1 million.

Gannett blamed the bad winter weather for the declines.

Total revenue rose 13 percent in the first quarter to $1.4 billion.

Net income adjusted for a tax benefits and other items increased 26 percent to $108.4 million or 47 cents per share. (Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Franklin Paul and Meredith Mazzilli)

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