New York Times Co. Q2 Profit Doubles as Revenue Turns Positive

By: Mark Fitzgerald

The New York Times Co. became the first big newspaper publisher to report top-line growth in its second-quarter results, with total revenue increasing 1.2% from a year ago.

The New York Times publisher said earnings per share excluding severance and special items more than doubled to 18 cents a share from 8 cents a share in the same period of 2009. Operating profit excluding severance and special items more than doubled to $60.8 million from $23.5 million a year ago.

Overall advertising revenue was flat, the Times Co. said. At its New Media Group unit of newspapers, revenue was also essentially flat, increasing to $555.9 million from $555.5 million a year ago. Excluding special items, the newspaper group’s operating profit jumped to $83.3 million, compared with $61.2 million a year ago.

Newspaper ad revenue fell 2.3%. Print advertising fell 6.1% while digital advertising revenue jumped 19.8%.

Circulation revenue was up 3.2% on higher subscription and newsstand pricing at the flagship Times and The Boston Globe.

The Times Co. continued to chip away at expenses, with operating costs at the News Media Group decreasing 5%.

The company also noted it has reduced its debt and capital lease obligations by approximately one third to $670 million from its balance at the beginning of 2009, “even after making pension contributions totaling $87.5 million in the second quarter of 2010.”

“These positive results continued to build on the momentum of the past few quarters as the company was able to increase revenues and decrease operating costs,” Times Co. President and CEO Janet L. Robinson said din a statement. “In the second quarter, total revenues increased 1%, reversing the first quarter 2010 decline of 3%, as we experienced positive trending in both print and digital advertising revenues.”

She said she expected the positive trend to continue into the third quarter, with improvements in print advertising and digital advertising increasing in the mid to high teens.

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