Media Briefing: Publishers’ Q4 earnings paint a sorrowful image of 2023

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Throughout a pretty certain Q1, some publishers launched their Q4 earnings experiences, reminding the alternate that advert earnings would possibly maybe be on the attain-up, nonetheless it’s in step with a new low location in 2023.

Gannett, IAC, Data Corp and The Fresh York Cases launched their Q4 and total year 2023 earnings this month and in preference to attempting forward to the rest stragglers (ahem, The Arena Neighborhood and BuzzFeed), below is a behold at how the four public media firms performed within the final quarter of 2023, in addition to some of their full year performances.

Whereas BuzzFeed has now now not launched its fourth quarter earnings but, some knowledge relating to the company’s efficiency changed into once integrated within the press originate for the sale of Complex, which changed into once announced on Feb 21. The corporate’s Q4 and total year 2023 earnings will possible be printed on March 25. 

By the numbers


  • BuzzFeed’s total revenues in Q4 is anticipated to be between $73 million to $78 million on a continuous operations basis. That’s between a 26.9 – 50.7% lower from the company’s monetary outlook of $99 million to $110 million, which changed into once shared in the end of its Q3 earnings originate on Nov. 2, 2023. 

Dotdash Meredith:

  • Total earnings in 2023 changed into once perfect under $1.7 billion, down about 12% year over year, from the $1.9 billion in 2022. 
  • Total Q4 2023 earnings changed into once $475.9 million, roughly flat year over year to the $477.6 million generated in Q4 2022. 

Dow Jones (fiscal year second quarter): 

  • Total earnings changed into once $584 million, up 4% year over year from $563 million in fiscal Q2 2023. 


  • Total full-year earnings changed into once perfect skittish of $2.7 billion in 2023, down 10% year over year from $2.9 billion in 2022. 
  • Steering for full year earnings in 2023, in step with the company’s full year 2022 earnings, estimated total earnings would be between $2.75 billion to $2.80 billion. The corporate changed into once short by 1.8% this year.
  • Total Q4 earnings changed into once $669.4 million, down 8.4% from $730.7 million in Q4 2022.

The Fresh York Cases Company: 

  • The Fresh York Cases Company’s total earnings (alongside with The Athletic) in 2023 changed into once $2.4 billion, up 5.1% year over year from 2022’s total earnings of $2.3 billion.
  • Total earnings in Q4 2023 changed into once $676.2 million, roughly flat compared to Q4 2022.

Marketing and marketing nosedive 

In maintaining with Dotdash Meredith’s, Gannett’s and The Fresh York Cases’ full-year earnings experiences, the advert market in 2023 changed into once perfect about as wrong because it felt.  

Gannett’s full year promoting earnings fell by about 7.3% from about $1.5 billion in 2022 to $1.4 billion in 2023. The corporate’s total digital promoting and advertising and marketing products and services earnings in 2023 changed into once less impacted, but tranquil declined by 1.8% year over year from $825.3 million in 2022 to $810.6 in 2023.

The Fresh York Cases Company’s total promoting earnings changed into once down 3.5% year over year from $523 million in 2022 to $505 million in 2023. Digital promoting earnings also fared pretty better, falling most attention-grabbing 0.2% year over year from $318.4 million in 2022 to $317.7 million in 2023.

Dotdash Meredith’s total digital promoting earnings changed into once down nearly 10% year over year, hitting $560.8 million in 2023 from $621.7 million in 2022. The corporate did now now not derive away its total mixed print and digital promoting earnings. 

Throughout the final quarter of 2023, Dotdash Meredith changed into once ready to turn around the story, nonetheless, and its digital promoting earnings elevated by 3.7% year over year, totaling $185.5 million within the quarter. 

Gannett and The Fresh York Cases sang equally sobering tunes in Q4, nonetheless. Gannett’s digital promoting and advertising and marketing products and services totaled $211 million in Q4 2023, down 5.2% year over year from $222.6 million in Q4 2022. The Fresh York Cases Co.’s digital advert gross sales fell by 3.7% to $107.7 million in Q4 2023, from $111.9 million in Q4 2022.

Dow Jones’s total promoting revenues declined 4% year over year to $126 million in Q2 2024. Nonetheless, the company’s digital promoting, which accounted for 62% of total advert earnings within the quarter, grew 1% year over year. Print promoting on the replacement hand fell 11% year over year.

Energy in subscriptions 

Associated to past quarters, subscriptions have proven to be the safety nets for the quarter. 

Dow Jones’ total circulation and subscription earnings elevated by 6% year over year to $441 million in Q2 2024, largely resulting from yelp in digital-most attention-grabbing subscriptions, which represents 70% of the company’s total circulation.

Inner that, total subscriptions to The Wall Boulevard Journal grew 7% year over year to nearly 4.1 million moderate subscriptions within the quarter. Digital-most attention-grabbing subscriptions to WSJ grew 11% to over 3.55 million moderate subscriptions within the quarter, representing 87% of WSJ’s total subscriptions. WSJ’s digital subscription base elevated 2.6% quarter over quarter from 3.46 million in Q1 2024.

The Fresh York Cases Company’s total digital-most attention-grabbing subscriber base elevated by 9.9% year over year from 8.8 million subscribers in Q4 2022 to 9.7 million in Q4 2023. When put next with the old quarter, the digital-most attention-grabbing subscriber base elevated 3.1% from about 9.4 million in Q3 2023.

The Cases’ bundle offering continued to take over new subscribers in Q4. Total bundle subscribers elevated 68.8% year over year from 2.5 million in Q4 2022 to about 4.2 million in Q4 2023. That changed into once also up about 11.3% from Q3 2023, which had a full of about 3.8 million subscribers to the bundle. 

Whereas the Cases’ moderate earnings per particular person for the bundle fell from $15.20 in Q4 2022 to $12.13 in Q4 2023, the ARPU on your entire digital-most attention-grabbing subscriber base elevated year over year from $8.93 to $9.24 in the end of that identical length. 

Gannett also reported a return to digital subscription yelp in Q4. After three serve-to-serve quarters of total digital subscription base declines, the tips writer’s total digital-most attention-grabbing subscriptions hit 1.99 million in Q4, representing a miniature 1.5% take quarter over quarter from 1.96 million in Q3. Q4 2023’s total is tranquil lower than the 2.03 million digital-most attention-grabbing subscribers Gannett had in Q4 2022 and the 2.02 million in Q1 2023, nonetheless. 

Digital-most attention-grabbing subscription earnings for Gannett elevated 18.3% year over year to $41.9 million in Q4 2023. Digital-most attention-grabbing subscriber ARPU changed into once $7.05, up 19.5% year over year from $5.90 in Q4 2022. Up 3.4% quarter over quarter from $6.82 in Q3 2023. 

Having a behold forward to 2024 

The consensus looks to be that it would’t derive worse than the past year; therefore, the publishers’ predictions for Q1 and the the rest of 2024 behold pretty certain.

Having a behold forward, BuzzFeed is receiving an all-cash sum of $108.6 million for Complex in addition to an extra $5.7 million for using the company’s Fresh York locations of work, severance and other employment-related prices, which is anticipated to encourage with the company’s profitability. 

BuzzFeed can also be reducing its group by 16%, which is anticipated to connect $23 million in annualized compensation. (Extra on the reductions below).

The Cases’ earnings and costs steering for Q1 2024, compared to Q1 2023, include an magnify of 11-14% in digital most attention-grabbing-subscription revenues and a 7-9% magnify for total subscription revenues. Digital advert earnings is anticipated to grow by low- to high-single-digits while total promoting within the first quarter will lower in mid-single-digits. 

For Dotdash Meredith, throughout 2024, digital earnings is anticipated to grow by 10% or more year over year while print earnings is anticipated to claim no by about 12%, particularly within the first half of the year, in step with IAC CFO and COO Christopher Halpin in the end of the company’s earnings call on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

What we’ve heard

“Must you behold at how brands have invested advertising and marketing greenbacks to various buyers, straight away they invest about 5% of their budgets … [but] I imagine [they’ve] created a new floor, now now not a ceiling, for [how] various advertising and marketing is transferring forward.”

Parker Morse, CEO and founder of My Code, on the latest episode of the Digiday Podcast

BuzzFeed begins one other round of layoffs

A week after BuzzFeed Inc. announced it changed into once planning a rate-cutting “strategic restructuring” that would possibly slash its group by 16% to connect about $23 million, the company began informing affected workers on Wednesday.

The Complex workers who didn’t derive an offer from NTWRK – the e-commerce company that received Complex closing week in a $108.6 million all-cash deal – were fragment of the layoffs at the fresh time, in step with a BuzzFeed govt, who spoke on situation of anonymity. Final week, NTWRK co-founder and CEO Aaron Levant told Digiday that over 85% of Complex’s more than 100 workers will cease with the company.

The entire workers offered a job at NTWRK agreed to mosey to the new company, the BuzzFeed govt said. They said most of those being let mosey from Complex were on the enterprise and admin groups. Nonetheless, some key Complex workers who didn’t derive an offer from NTWRK were staying at BuzzFeed, they added. The government didn’t know the blueprint many contributors were impacted by the layoffs on Wednesday.

A BuzzFeed spokesperson declined to acknowledge to questions about how many contributors were being let mosey as fragment of the restructuring and declined to allotment any extra basic ingredients about the layoffs on Wednesday.

The closing time BuzzFeed did a huge round of layoffs changed into once when it shuttered BuzzFeed Data closing April and let mosey of 15% of the company – about 180 staffers. This layoff will possible influence roughly 160 workers, in step with BuzzFeed’s group of around 1,000 workers.

Final week, BuzzFeed gave a disappointing preview of its fourth quarter 2023 monetary outcomes (search for above). BuzzFeed CFO Matt Omer said in an announcement closing week that Q4 earnings changed into once impacted by lower match sponsorship revenues and a now now not easy advert market, leading to the company’s decision to slash its headcount.

Doug Arthur, managing director at media study and advisory firm Huber Review Partners, said when a company is tormented by debt and a lack of earnings yelp, “the precise option is to gash prices.”

BuzzFeed has about $150 million of debt obligations, in step with public filings. – Sara Guaglione

Numbers to know

3: The selection of studies that publishers have to post using Google’s unreleased suite of generative AI tools to fetch monthly stipends totaling 5-figures yearly.

>100: The selection of Vice Media workers that will possible be laid off after an announcement that the company will now now not post dispute on

£30 million: The amount of money that the Monetary Cases has devoted to its new endeavor arm known as FT Ventures, which is prepared to speculate in high-yelp media and tech firms. 

$2.3 billion: The amount of money 32 media groups, alongside with Axel Springer, are suing Google’s father or mother company Alphabet for in a new lawsuit alleging monetary losses prompted by the platform huge’s digital promoting practices.

What we’ve lined

How a lot can states again an eye on social media? The Supreme Courtroom hears cases for and in opposition to: 

  • Can states limit how social media firms can moderate dispute? That’s all over again up for consideration within the U.S. Supreme Courtroom.
  • The Supreme Courtroom unanimously sided with the tech firms, but selected now to now not handle the scope of Allotment 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which also came up plenty in yell law discussions. 

Be taught more about the SCOTUS case right here.

Media investors weigh the sledgehammer or the scalpel methodology to MFA classification 

  • Some consultancies and verification firms have taken the initiative to take a behold at and derive more readability in different manners.
  • When Digiday requested 5 media investors which methodology — the sledgehammer or the scalpel — changed into once winning them over, most investors said that each and each alternate suggestions wanted to be approached with warning while the concern changed into once tranquil settling. 

Be taught more about different approaches to cutting out MFAs from media buys right here.

The Commerce Desk’s take on the next year in advert tech:

  • Media investors and publishers the day prior to this packed the halls of Fresh York’s The Cases Heart, the build The Commerce Desk laid out its vision for decisions to third-occasion cookies.
  • The Commerce Desk CEO Jeff Inexperienced changed into once quizzed on whether or now now not the evolving dynamics between marketers, media businesses and tech platforms meant they’ll additionally match “more client disclose” in future?

Be taught The Rundown from The Commerce Desk’s latest match right here

Why media firms are pushing podcasts at SXSW ‘Trojan-horse vogue’: 

  • Some media firms map to connect the spotlight on their podcasts at SXSW next month by web hosting multi-day programming, particular person activations and networking events for purchasers in a expose to land enterprise from new advertisers this year.
  • And after a troublesome 2023, media firms are hungry for unique podcast advertisers given advert slowdowns, stiff competitors and other challenges within the medium.

Peek how podcast publishers are showing up at SXSW right here

Watermarking AI dispute doesn’t mosey some distance enough, researchers warn:

  • As the tech alternate rallies around watermarking AI-generated dispute and other commitments, some experts warn more work needs to be performed.
  • Researchers counsel in vogue strategies for disclosing and detecting AI dispute aren’t efficient enough to halt risks related to AI-generated misinformation.

Be taught the latest version of Digiday’s AI Briefing right here

What we’re studying

OpenAI accuses The Fresh York Cases of hacking ChatGPT: 

ChatGPT’s father or mother company requested a federal reflect to brush apart ingredients of the Cases’ swimsuit in opposition to OpenAI because they violated the generative AI company’s terms of utilize to form their copyright case, in step with Reuters.

Extra publishers sue OpenAI:

Following The Fresh York Cases’ lead, two complaints were filed in opposition to OpenAI by three modern media firms, The Every single day Beast reported. Raw Memoir and AlterNet filed a joint swimsuit in opposition to the AI company and a second swimsuit changed into once filed by The Intercept. 

The price of maintaining a digital archive: 

Following the file closing week that Vice changed into once now now not going to be publishing dispute on its web location, workers scrambled to take a behold at and download and archive their work. In this age of celebrated shuttering of digital media firms, Slate wrote that the downside that in a blink of an leer, journalists will now now not have derive precise of entry to to their portfolio of labor, is popular.

Suitors emerge to scoop up the rights to post Sports Illustrated:

After The Arena Neighborhood did now not pay Dependable Brands Neighborhood for the SI publishing license closing month, several suitors have raised their fingers to invent the rights, Axios experiences. Damaged-down CNN CEO Jeff Zucker’s investment firm RedBird IMI, Minute Media and now Vox Media are all in conversations with Dependable, nonetheless Arena is tranquil said to be negotiating to again those rights.

Data publishers must reinvent themselves, in step with Kara Swisher: 

In a take a seat down with CNN, Kara Swisher said that a form of the ails of the media alternate are actually the fault of the media alternate and therefore a shift needs to be made in inform to cease alive.

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