NYTCo. Reports Weak August, Braces for SoftSeptember

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By: E&P Staff

The New York Times Co. announced Tuesday that advertising revenue for the month of August increased 1.7% compared with the same period last year. Total company revenue grew 0.6%. Excluding About.com, which was acquired in March 2005, advertising revenue declined 1% for the month and total company revenue decreased 1.2%.

Janet Robinson, president and CEO of the company, said in a release that the weak results were due to difficult comparisons. Advertising revenues increased 7.8% in August 2004 due to political and Olympic spending.

Robinson also reported that September — the company’s largest month in the quarter — would most likely be soft. ?Advertising has been challenging and visibility remains limited. We continue to benefit from very strong double-digit advertising growth at our digital operations, particularly About.com. But elsewhere, advertising is weaker than expected,? she said in a statement. ?To address this, the company is moving aggressively to reduce costs across all its business units.?

This afternoon the company announced that it will trim about 4% of its workforce, eliminating approximately 500 positions across all divisions.

Third quarter earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $.11 to $.14 compared to $.33 last year. This includes expenses related to the company’s staff reduction program announced in May of $12 million to $14 million or $0.4 to $0.6 per share. This is higher than originally expected because a greater than anticipated number of people participated in the program. Costs for additional staff reductions should not affect Q3, said the release.

Advertising revenue at The New York Times Media Group decreased 0.8% in August. National advertising declined while retail and classified advertising grew. Year-to-date, ad revenue grew 1.6%.

For the New England Media Group, advertising revenue slipped 2.5% for the month. National advertising rose while retail and classified revenue declined. Year-to-date, ad revenue for the group dropped 2.4%.

Advertising revenue for the Regional Media Group advanced 3.4%. Excluding the North Bay Business Journal, which was acquired in February, advertising revenue rose 3%. Retail advertising decreased while classified advertising grew. Year to date ad revenue at the group is up 5.9%.

Internet ad revenue for the company rose 28.3% and circulation revenue dropped 1.9% in August.

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