NYT Co. Profit Off 82% In 2Q

By: The Associated Press

New York Times Co.’s second-quarter earnings fell 82 percent from a year ago, when it saw a one-time gain from the sale of a unit, but print advertising continued to shrink and pulled down operating income, the publisher said Wednesday.

Net income dropped to $21.1 million, or 15 cents per share, from $118.4 million, or 82 cents per share, a year ago. In the second quarter of 2007, the company got a 66-cents-per-share boost from selling its broadcast media group but also took a 14-cent hit from other one-time items.

The results for 2008’s second quarter include a charge of $15.7 million, or 11 cents per share, to cover staff buyouts. Times Co., like many publishers looking to curb spending, is reducing staff by 100 people this year and expects to incur up to $40 million in related costs.

Earnings from continuing operations slid 6 percent to $20.9 million, or 15 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected profit of 22 cents per share. At least some of the forecasts included an estimate for buyout charges.

Revenue fell 6 percent to $741.9 million and missed the Wall Street projection of $754 million. Ad revenue dropped 11 percent, hurt mostly by a continuing decline in classified advertising. Higher newsstand and subscription prices for the Times boosted circulation revenue 2.5 percent.

“We saw the continued effect on our businesses of the U.S. economic slowdown and secular forces playing out across the media industry,” Chief Executive Janet Robinson said in a statement.

The flagship New York Times paper brought in 10 percent lower advertising revenue, even as industry watchers say the Times is better positioned than most newspapers to weather the migration of ad spending to the Internet because of its broad national appeal.

Revenue from the company’s Internet properties ? which include newspaper Web sites and the About.com consumer information site ? jumped 13 percent to $91.3 million and accounted for about 12 percent of total revenue. That is 2 percentage points more than in the same period a year ago, but the group is not growing quickly enough to offset the decline in print ad revenue.

Times Co. cut operating costs by 2 percent, mostly from employing fewer staff, paying fewer bonuses and reducing newsprint consumption.

Robinson said the worsening economy and higher energy prices have continued to hit the company so far in July. Airlines, hotel operators and automakers have all curbed advertising spending, she said, adding, “We expect that will continue for some time.”

Besides the Times and The Boston Globe, Times Co. owns the International Herald Tribune, regional newspapers, the online consumer information site About.com and the classical music radio station WQXR-FM in New York.

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