Newspapers Posed For A Comeback

Maybe its time to talk seriously about the newspaper comeback. Three of the country’s biggest publishers have reported positive results for Q3 today, and that’s before the ad revenue windfall expected from this year’s election spending kicks in.

The New York Times, which had been suffering through a tough year of declines in the financial services and tech categories, reported its third-quarter earnings rose, citing a steady improvement in advertising and circulation revenues. The company, which owns the flagship New York Times newspaper and the Boston Globe, said profits rose to $59 million compared with $43.8 million a year earlier. Operating revenues rose 4.7% to $729.5 million. Advertising revenues rose 3.6% and circulation revenues were up 8.5%, thanks in part to rate hikes. Circulation revenues are expected to increase by 7% to 8% for the full year, primarily because of higher subscription prices at the Times and Globe.

"As we look to the balance of the year, we expect company-wide advertising revenues to improve," said President and Chief Executive Russell Lewis.



At the Tribune Co., publishing's third quarter revenues were $927 million, up 2% from last year's third quarter. Publishing operating profit increased 53% to $196 million, up from $128 million last year. Retail advertising was up 7% year-over-year. National was up 5% year-over-year. Increases in hi-tech, especially wireless, and entertainment categories were partially offset by a decrease in the financial category.

The Tribune’s broadcasting and entertainment division's third quarter revenues increased 11% to $394 million, up from $354 million in 2001. Broadcasting and Entertainment operating profit increased 44% to $137 million from $95 million last year. Television advertising revenues, excluding acquisitions, increased 18% in the quarter, and 36% in September.

And on a regional basis, Publisher Journal Register Co. whose newspapers include the New Haven Register, said on Thursday its third-quarter earnings rose more than 33%, bolstered by a turnaround in newspaper advertising. Revenues from retail advertising, Journal Register's largest ad category, rose 1.8%, the largest gain in more than two years.

The Trenton, New Jersey-based company said profits rose to $11.9 million, or 28 cents per share, compared with $8.9 million and 21 cents a year earlier.

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