President/CEO Russell Lewis told the UBS Warburg MediaWeek conference in New York on Wednesday afternoon that the company was pushing ahead in its plans to improve national and local efforts.
Lewis touted the newspaper’s 10% circulation growth by the end of September, at a time when many other newspapers were showing declines. He also said the advertising market was still “constrained” but the Times was showing steady improvement and market share.
“We’re clearly headed in the right direction,” Lewis said.
He said the Times Internet operation was showing a year-over-year $13 million to $15 million profit and had shown innovation in online advertising with surround session, site session and rich media executions. Lewis singled out nytimes.com’s efforts to reach the employed daypart with these and other advertising initiatives.
“A significant trend is the realization among advertisers that the at-work audience is large, still growing and highly influential,” Lewis said.
Lewis said the company was starting to develop a presence in television, with Times-produced documentaries winning Emmy nominations and the investments in the New England Sports Network (NESN) and a joint venture with Discovery. That channel will be relaunched under as Discovery Times Channel in April.
“We’re continuing to expand our portfolio of multimedia properties aimed at capturing the lucrative advertising attractive to a knowledgeable audience … served by the Times brand,” Lewis said.
Times executives said circulation and advertising gains have been achieved at The New York Times plus its regional newspaper networks. SVP/Newspaper Operations Janet L. Robinson said ad revenues had, after declines earlier in the year, had begun to increase and had reached a 10% increase in November. In 19 of its advertising categories, she said The New York Times was the market leader and was either number one or number two in 26 of 35 categories. She said national advertising has grown in prominence at The Times within the past few years and color ad pages have also grown as well.
CFO Leonard P. Forman said the Times Co. was optimistic about the future in its print, online and TV properties. It’s also received significant savings in cost-cutting that has made the company more effectively yet hasn’t impacted its strategy for the future.
Cross-platform promotion will become more prevalent between The New York Times and its soon-to-be acquired International Herald Tribune. Robinson said cross-platform opportunities are being leveraged other places within the company as well, including at the Boston Globe subsidiary. She said the Globe recently struck a three-year, $3.3 million multimedia deal that includes not only the Globe but also NESN and signs at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, of which the Times is a minority owner.