The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) had a "challenging" first quarter.Total revenue fell almost 5% to to $748 million. Expense dropped only 1% to $723 million.
The company’s odd About.com online operation was the only strong performer. Its reveue rose 25% to $28 million. It operating profit was up 14% to $9.5 millon. Total Internet revenues grew 11.6 percent to $82.9 million from $74.3 million. Internet advertising revenues increased 16.0 percent in the quarter. Internet businesses include our digital archives, NYTimes.com, Boston.com, About.com and the Web sites of our other newspaper properties.
The newspaper segment of the company had a 78% operating profit drop to $13.3 million.
No matter how bad the quarter was, March was worse. During the month total revenues from continuing operations decreased 6.4% compared with the same month a year ago. Advertising revenues decreased 11.1%. Ad revenue at the company’s New England Media Group, mostly the Boston Post, dropped an astonishing 26%. At the Regional Media Group the figure was over 19%. Advertising revenues at the About Group rose 22.4% due to growth in cost-per-click advertising.
Most of the newspaper advertising fall-off was in classifieds. With online companies like Craigslist taking that business, it isn’t coming back.
Douglas A. McIntyre