Gannett’s digital business had a healthy Q4 2022, despite an overall revenue decline at the company. While the $730.7 million Gannett racked up in total revenues in the fourth quarter represented an 11.6 percent drop from Q4 2021, digital-only circulation revenues rose 29 percent, hitting $35.5 million. Gannett ended the quarter with 2.04 million paid subscriptions—up 24 percent from a year earlier. The company’s digital marketing solutions platform brought in $119.7 million, a jump of 9 percent. "We also continued to make significant progress towards debt reduction,” said Gannett chairman and CEO Michael Reed, “repaying $47 million of debt while ending the year with a cash balance of $94 million.” Circulation revenues, however, took a 16.5 percent hit, bringing in $256.7 million vs $307.3 million in Q4 2021.
NPR has announced plans to shed about 10 percent of its employees—about 100 positions—in response to a $30 million gap in the organization’s budget. “The ad industry has weakened and we are grappling with a sharp decline in our revenues from corporate sponsors,” NPR chief executive John Lansing wrote in an email to staffers. It is not yet known exactly where the cuts will fall, but an NPR spokeswoman said the final decision is to be made by March 20. The organization has already put a near-freeze on hiring into place, along with the elimination of most travel and suspension of internships. Lansing’s memo said that the coming cuts will not “disproportionately impact people of color or any other historically marginalized group.”
OZY Media chief executive Carlos Watson is arrested on charges of conspiring to commit securities fraud and conspiring to commit wire fraud, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. His arrest comes after former OZY chief operating officer Samir Rao pled guilty to fraud and identify theft charges in federal court. Among other things, Rao is accused of having impersonated a YouTube executive during a February 2021 fundraising call with Goldman Sachs, after which he stepped down. (Both Watson and Rao previously worked for Goldman Sachs). Another OZY official told a magistrate judge that she falsified financial information about the company being told to do by two company executives. While the company announced in October 2021 that it was ceasing operations, it soon backtracked on those plans. “As alleged, Carlos Watson is a conman whose business strategy was based on outright deceit and fraud,” said Breon Peace, the US attorney for the eastern district of New York. “He ran Ozy as a criminal organization rather than as a reputable media company.”