Times Co. Online Ad Sales Increase 17% In August

Internet revenue at The New York Times Co. increased 17.3 percent last month compared to August of 2005, the company reported Thursday.

But that jump, while significant, was modest compared to increases earlier in the year. July online revenue was up 27.5 percent, while June online revenue increased 23 percent and May surged 27 percent.

Ad revenue at About.com soared 45.1 percent, which the company attributed to "significant increases in both cost-per-click and display advertising." Display ad spending in particular grew in the retail, telecoms, technology, pharmaceutical and food categories.

The company also reported that the revenue at TimesSelect, an online premium service of NYTimes.com, has totaled more than $6 million so far this year As of August, more than 537,000 customers subscribe to TimesSelect, although 63 percent of those receive it as an add-on to their home newspaper subscriptions. Launched last September, TimesSelect charges readers about $50 a year for access to columnists like Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich, as well as news archives.

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The print side of the Times Co. didn't fare as well as the online properties. Overall ad revenue slid 3.8 percent across the company. The core property, the New York Times Media Group, posted a 4.2 percent drop in ad revenue, which the Times blamed on declining national ad sales. Studio entertainment, telecommunications and technology advertising were all particularly soft in August. Classified ad revenue decreased, led by collapsing automotive and help-wanted categories.

However, the worst news came from the Times' New England division, where poor ad sales at The Boston Globe contributed to a 15.7 percent overall decline in ad revenue. Here, demand was soft across a range of national ad categories, including telecommunications, financial services, national automotive, travel, and entertainment.

Advertising revenues for the Regional Media Group, which includes papers like the Sarasota Herald-Tribune of Sarasota, Fla. and The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, Calif., rose 1.9 percent.

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