Print Imperfect: NYTCO Ad Revenues Fall 9.2% in 1Q

NYT The New York Times Company opened what is sure to be another round of discouraging revenue results from newspaper publishers Thursday, announcing that total ad revenue fell 9.2% in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007, to $458 million. This squeezed operating profit from $54.5 million to just $6.2 million.

NYTCO President and CEO Janet L. Robinson faced the grim results head on, explaining that "advertising revenues decreased in the quarter as weaker economic conditions compounded the effects of secular change in our business." Like virtually every other major newspaper publisher in the past few years, NYTCO has seen classified and display ad dollars migrate from print to the Web. Now that process is accelerating because of a broader economic malaise.

Looking for bright spots, Robinson pointed to the continued growth in online revenues, up 11.6% to $82.9 million. She added that altogether, the company's Internet business contributed 11.1% of revenues in the first quarter of 2008, versus 9.5% during the same period last year.



But the online picture isn't actually all that rosy.

The apparent increase in online's share of overall revenues is, in large part, simply a result of the overall revenues contracting. Had online revenues not grown at all, remaining flat at $74.3 million, their percentage contribution would still have risen to 10.5% of total revenues, given the total decline.

Furthermore, the current growth rate in online revenues is about half what it was in the first quarter of 2007, when they increased 21.6%. This represents a slowdown in terms of dollars added, from $13.2 million in the first quarter of 2007 to $8.6 million in 2008.

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