Journal Register Blames Weather For February Revenue Slump

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By: E&P Staff

Journal Register Co. said Thursday that the 5.7% drop in total revenues in its February period was due to continuing weakness in its Michigan newspapers plus severe weather at all its properties.

Yardley, Pa.-based Journal Register said total revenues from continuing operations for its Period Two — the four weeks ended March 4 — were $35.7 million compared to $37.9 million for the four weeks ended February 26, 2006, a decrease of 5.7%.

Excluding results from its Michigan cluster, which have been depressing results for months, total revenues decreased 4.1% from the year-ago period, Journal Register said.

Total advertising revenues from continuing operations were $27.2 million for the period, down from $29.3 million.

“Total revenues for the second period were negatively affected by the severe weather, which had an impact on all of our clusters in both our advertising and circulation revenues,” Chairman and CEO Robert M. Jelenic said in a prepared statement. “Online revenues continue to perform very well and we expect our online revenue growth to accelerate as we move through the year. In addition, this year’s second period did not benefit from the increase in advertising and circulation revenues that occurred in 2006 when the Super Bowl was played in Michigan.”

Online revenues increased 22.6% in the period to $1.2 million, Journal Register said. Revenues from its jobs site, JobsInTheUS, jumped 40.5%, it said.

Retail advertising revenues were down 4.5%, or 2.8% excluding the Michigan cluster. “Softness in the financial/insurance and dining/entertainment advertising revenue categories were partially offset by strength in telecommunications, miscellaneous retail stores and sporting goods stores advertising revenue categories,” the company said.

Classified advertising revenues for the period fell 9.1%, on weakness in the real estate category (down 12.3%); employment (down 7.7%); and automotive (down 18.9%).

National advertising revenues plummeted 23.5% in the period. Journal Register noted that national amounts to less than 5% of total advertising revenue for its mostly mid-sized newspapers.

Circulation revenues for the period decreased 1.0%.

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