McClatchy Revenues Tumble 9.5%

Newspaper publishers are reporting yet another round of revenue declines in the first quarter, deflating hopes that 2011 might bring a respite for the beleaguered medium. The latest figures from McClatchy Co. highlight the industry's continuing woes.

McClatchy's total revenues sank 9.5% -- to $303.7 million in the first quarter of 2011 from the previous year, the company reported Tuesday. This was due, in large part, to the continuing decline in ad revenues, which tumbled 11% to $225.1 million over this period, along with a 5% drop in circulation revenues to $66.2 million.

Turning to specific ad categories, national advertising plunged 29.3% to $18.1 million; retail sank 12.5% to $114.4 million; and classifieds slipped 7.8% to $64.8 million. Within the classifieds category, automotive was basically flat at $20.6 million; real estate plummeted 19.4% to $11.6 million; and employment edged down 4% to $13.5 million.

The one bright spot on the balance sheet, digital advertising, enjoyed only modest growth, with total digital ad revenues increasing 2.2% to $45.3 million. This represents an increase from 17.5% of the company's total ad revenues in the first quarter of 2010 to 20.1% in the first quarter of 2011.



Of course, this proportional increase partly reflects that decline in overall ad revenues.

This marks the nineteenth straight quarter of revenue declines for McClatchy, continuing a trend which began in the third quarter of 2006. Nor does there seem to be much hope of the long-term decline abating any time soon. Looking to the second quarter, McClatchy chairman and CEO Gary Pruitt disclosed: "In the first four weeks of the April fiscal period, advertising revenues are down approximately 9%."

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