McClatchy August Ad Revenues Plunge 9.2%

By: E&P Staff

August roughed up another newspaper chain, as The McClatchy Co. reported Wednesday that its ad revenue — hammered by a plunge of 25.1% in real estate classified — fell 9.2% compared to the month a year ago.

Total revenue was down 8.4% in August, McClatchy said.

So far this year, advertising revenues are down 8.4% compared to the first eight months of 2006, and total revenue is down 7.1%, McClatchy said.

McClatchy Chairman and CEO Gary Pruitt said the company has been hurt by continued declines in real estate advertising, particularly in California, where it publishes The Sacramento Bee, and Florida, where it publishes The Miami Herald. Ad revenue from California papers plunged 16.7%, while Florida papers were off 14.1%.

Things are not likely to improve in the fourth quarter of the year, Pruitt added.

“But we are not accepting business on these terms — indeed we are working hard to mitigate the impact of revenue declines by exerting strong cost discipline,” Pruitt said in a statement. “We are making progress on reducing debt in the third quarter and will continue to focus on de-levering our balance sheet.”

Total classified was down 17.3% in the month. In addition to the big swoon in real estate, help-wanted classified revenue dropped 19.1%, and automotive was down 9.9%.

Retail advertising declined 1.3%, and national fell 11.7%.

McClatchy said its circulation revenue declined 3.8%.

Preprint distribution declined 4.1% to 522.2 million pieces.

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