Good news is relative. In the case of the New York Times Co., the good news is that while print ad revenues are still declining in the fourth quarter of 2010, the decline is slower than in previous quarters.
Speaking to the UBS Media and Communications Conference, NYTCO CEO Janet Robinson said the company expects print ad revenues to drop 4% compared to the fourth quarter of 2009 -- a smaller loss than the third quarter, when print ad revenues dropped 5.8%.
Digital ad revenues should rise about 10%, while circulation revenues should fall 4% to 5% in the fourth quarter. That's roughly in line with a 14.6% increase in digital revenues and a 4.8% drop in circulation revenue in the third quarter of this year.
Robinson also confirmed that the company will start charging for access to some online content in the first quarter of 2011, with heavy users paying a subscription fee. The Boston Globe will also start charging for online access in the second half of the year.
The NYTCO is emerging from the recession a smaller, leaner company. Total revenues in 2009 came to $2.4 billion, down 27% from $3.3 billion in 2006. Over the same period, costs and expenses decreased 23% from $3 billion to $2.3 billion.
Most recently, in the first three quarters of 2010, total revenues came to $1.73 billion, down 27% from $2.36 billion in the first three quarters of 2006. Operating costs came to $1.59 billion in the first three quarters of 2010, down 25% from $2.12 billion in the same period of 2006.