NYTCO Ad Revs Rise, Digital Trends Up

For the first time in two and a half years, the New York Times Co. reported positive growth in revenues on Thursday, announcing that total revenues increased 1.2% from $582.6 million in the second quarter of 2009 to $589.6 million in the second quarter of 2010.

While modest, this is the first year-over-year increase in quarterly revenues since the third quarter of 2007, terminating a decline that lasted 10 quarters.

However, advertising remains unsteady. According to NYTCO, total ad revenues decreased 0.2% to $314.9 million, but this slight decline was more than offset by a 3.2% increase in circulation revenues, which rose from $227.5 million to $234.8 million.

Total revenues at its News Media group, which includes the flagship New York Times, were basically flat at $555.9 million, compared with $555.5 million in the second quarter of 2009.

Print ad revenues at the News Media Group declined 6.1%.

Turning to specific categories, NYTCO's total retail ad revenues fell 10.6% from $74.4 million to $66.5 million, while national rose 3.9% to $156.2 million and classifieds fell 8.9% to $50.5 million.

Within the classified category, Help Wanted fell 1% to $9.9 million, real estate fell 15.3% to $17.9 million, and automotive fell 5.6% to $10 million.

More encouraging is the upward trend in digital advertising revenues, which continued to rebound after declining last year. Total Internet revenues increased 21.2% from $68 million to $82.4 million, accounting for 26.1% of NYTCO's total ad revenues -- up from 21.5% in the second quarter of 2009.

This marks a shift from previous quarters, when the apparent proportion of Internet ad revenues increased only because total ad revenues decreased; in other words, growth in Internet ad revenues is now making positive contributions to NYTCO's bottom line.

The second-quarter results are undoubtedly welcome news for NYTCO's management and shareholders, but long-term comparisons reveal just how much the company (and the newspaper business in general) have lost over the last few years.

From the second quarter of 2006 to the second quarter of 2010, NYTCO's total revenues have declined 31.3% from $858.7 million to $589.6 million.

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