McClatchy stock up 36 percent in 2012

Shareholders of The Kansas City Star’s parent company should be bullish on the stock’s performance in 2012. According to Poynter, McClatchy stock was up 36.8 percent last year.

Newspaper stock prices, via Poynter

That’s nothing compared to Lee Enterprises, which owns the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, among other papers, which saw a gain of more than 62 percent.

Despite advertising losses and declining circulation revenue, McClatchy’s online efforts grew in 2012, according to the latest quarterly reports, released in October.¬† The company implemented paywalls at all of its properties, including The Star on Dec. 5, and reported digital ad growth of 25 percent.

McClatchy’s stock, however, took a nearly 50 percent dive in 2011.

Poynter’s Rick Edmonds writes:

So what did investors like about the companies? Here are eight positives:

  1. Digital pay plans, combined with aggressive print price increases, are generating new circulation revenues. More than 400 of 1,350 daily papers now have implemented or plan some version of a digital paywall.

  2. On an operating basis, the great majority of papers are profitable. Only a handful have closed or reduced print frequency.

  3. While some of the companies struggle to make interest payments, pay down debt and fund pension obligations, these and other legacy costs became less threatening in the course of the year.

  4. Companies are showing good results from their investments in digital companies like CareerBuilder. Many have also launched promising digital/social marketing agencies for local businesses.

  5. Those companies with local TV operations (Gannett, Scripps, Washington Post, Journal Communications) had even better-than-expected revenue and profit gains in a banner year for political advertising.

  6. Sunday insert advertising, despite potential future shifts to mobile, held up well as newspapers have also been successful in stabilizing or improving Sunday circulation.

  7. An improving economy should boost continuing problem categories like real estate.

  8. 2012 was a positive year for the broader market with the S & P 500 up 13 percent.

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