Arizona Republic Bled Subscribers, As Did Its Sister Companies Under Gannett

March 3, 2024

By Corinne Murdock |

The Arizona Republic bled over 25,700 subscriptions from 2022 to 2023, in line with an overall trend from its major sister companies across the nation. Daily, Sunday, and digital-only subscriptions totaled about 184,700 last year, compared to over 210,400 in 2022.

The losses were reported by the outlet’s parent company and nation’s largest newspaper publisher, Gannett Company, in their latest annual report released this week. Total subscriptions for Gannett’s 20 major publications dropped by over 200,700: from about 2.2 million to over 1.9 million.

The Republic had about 48,300 daily subscriptions last year compared to over 56,800 daily subscriptions in 2022; about 70,500 Sunday subscriptions last year compared to over 83,600 in 2022; and 65,946 digital only subscriptions last year compared to 69,956 digital only subscriptions in 2022. 

Evidently, the lowest losses occurred with digital-only subscriptions. Gannett noted later on in its annual report that growth of digital-only subscriptions remains its best bet for gaining readership. 

“To continue growing and accelerating our digital-only subscription base, we intend to capitalize on our large organic audience and leverage data to understand our users’ interests and curate an experience that will drive engagement and loyalty,” said Gannett. “We continue to believe we have significant opportunity to grow paid digital-only subscriptions in the future as we expand our content and our product offerings.”

Gannett also reported having less than half the workforce it boasted prior to its merger with GateHouse in 2019. As reported in 2022, the company initiated mass layoffs following multiple poor quarterly performances.

Per this latest report, the media giant has about 10,000 employees, compared to over 21,200 employees leading up to 2019. Downsizing is likely to continue: Gannett disclosed that it planned to continue doing so. 

“We believe we are able to reduce future capital expenditure needs by having fewer overall pressrooms and buildings,” said Gannett. “By clustering our production resources, utilizing excess capacity for commercial work, or outsourcing where cost-beneficial, we seek to reduce the operating costs of our publications while increasing the quality of our small and mid-size market publications that would typically not otherwise have access to high quality production facilities.”

These layoffs were a double-edged sword, according to Gannett. The lack of talent has put a limit on their papers’ abilities to conduct solid enough operations to yield profitability.  

Poor performance and the struggles resulting from forced layoffs don’t seem to be the only issue for Gannett. The company noted that the current state of the economy has forced the company to divert cash flow from operations into pension plan contributions, and that health and welfare benefits have increased significantly in cost. 

Gannett also noted concern over the unionization of its workforce, remarking on the unknowns of labor costs, productivity, and flexibility that may result from labor disputes. 

Gannett agreed to its first union contract with The Republic journalists last month, a process four years in the making. The agreement raised all reporter wages, with a guaranteed start minimum of $50,000 and pay increases averaging 13 percent for the two-year contract. 

Gannett’s other Arizona subsidiaries — not named among its major publications — are Phoenix Newspapers (The Arizona Republic), Arizona News Service (produces Arizona Capitol Times and Yellow Sheet Report), and TNI Partners (produces Arizona Daily Star and the defunct Tucson Citizen). 

Gannett also reported the following Arizona-based subsidiaries: Citizen Publishing Company, FoodBlogs, Sedona Publishing Company, and Thanksgiving Ventures.

Gannett reported owning and/or operating 21 production facilities producing an average of 16 publications; in addition to Arizona, each of the following states have one production facility: Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. 

Correct: A previous version of this story listed The Republic’s digital only subscriptions at 65,956 for 2022. The Republic’s digital only subscriptions for 2022 were 69,956, and the story has been corrected.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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