Times Online Ad Revenue Grows 26%

Thanks to strong growth in both display and classified advertising, Web ad revenues for The New York Times Company's major media groups rose 26.2% last month.

Those groups include the New York Times Media Group, the New England Media Group, and the Times' Regional Media Group.

TimesSelect, the fee-based product on NYTimes.com that includes access to the Times' major columnists and its archives, currently has approximately 627,000 subscribers--with about 66% receiving TimesSelect as a benefit of their home-delivery subscriptions and 34% receiving it from online-only subscriptions. TimesSelect generated $9.9 million in revenues in 2006.

The Times' various publication and monetization models have been the topic of public conversation for years now--most recently by Times executives.

Nicholas Ascheim, the Times' director of entertainment, video and audio products, last month warned that the company's premium content service, TimesSelect, could potentially scare off new generations of readers.



Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The New York Times, caused a stir last month when he reportedly questioned the Times' print future in front of a crowd at the World Economic Conference in Davos. "I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years," the newspaper Ha'aretz quoted Sulzberger as saying.

The Times has been gradually augmenting its Web presence to accommodate the demands and tastes of consumers. In the most recent example, the paper is revising its online political coverage in anticipation of the 2008 presidential election. Said Times Editor in Chief Bill Keller in a memo sent to staff this week: "For this Presidential election cycle we are organizing our coverage in a new (for us) way: for the first time, a central political desk will supervise coverage for the newspaper and the web. This new desk will include not only newspaper editors, but also people with experience in web production, database reporting and software development. Newspaper and online journalism will get equal emphasis--we are well past the day when we can think of ourselves as a newspaper with a Web site on the side--for an audience that now expects its political news to arrive in full multimedia, interactive glory."

Advertising revenues at About.com rose 22.5% in January due to increases in both cost-per-click and display advertising. Display advertising increased on strength in the pharmaceutical, consumer goods, entertainment and technology categories.

For January, the New York Times Company had the 11th-largest presence on the Web, with 42.6 million unique visitors in the United States, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

But despite the online surge, last month's print ad revenues decreased 2.1% and total company revenues decreased 0.4% compared to January 2006.

"With the advertising market continuing to be challenging, particularly in the classified categories, we remain focused on improving operational efficiency and reducing both fixed and variable costs across the Company," Janet L. Robinson, Times president and CEO, said in a statement.

Advertising revenues for The New York Times Media Group actually increased 0.6%, while revenues for the New England Media Group and the Regional Media Group dropped down 9.7% and 6.5%, respectively.

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