NY Times posts revenue growth, reversing slide

NEW YORK, July 22, 2010 (AFP) - The New York Times Co. reported a slight increase in quarterly revenue on Thursday as double-digit growth in digital advertising helped offset a continued slide in print advertising.

The Times Co., which owns The Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune and other newspapers in addition to the flagship New York Times, said revenue rose 1.2 percent in the second quarter to 589.6 million dollars over a year ago.

Net profit declined to 32 million dollars, or 21 cents per share, from 39 million dollars, or 27 cents per share, a year earlier when the media giant posted a large tax benefit.

"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 chief executive Janet Robinson said.

Times Co. revenue had been sliding for several years and fell 3.2 percent in the first quarter of the year and 11.5 percent in the previous quarter.

The Times Co. said digital advertising revenue rose 21.2 percent in the second quarter while print advertising revenue fell 6.1 percent. That was an improvement on the previous quarter when print ad revenue fell 12.3 percent.

"We experienced positive trending in both print and digital advertising revenues," Robinson said in a statement.

"Online advertising revenues have become a larger part of our mix and made up 26 percent of the company's total advertising revenues in the 2010 second quarter, up from 22 percent in the same prior-year period," she said.

Robinson said print advertising is expected to improve in the third quarter while digital advertising is expected to "trend in the mid to high teens."

The Times said it expects higher year-over-year costs in the third quarter due to rising newsprint prices, increased promotional spending and expenses related to the plan to start charging readers of NYTimes.com in January.

Robinson, in a conference call with analysts, said the Times had seen little impact during the quarter from the launch of the New York edition of The Wall Street Journal.

"We have not seen any measurable impact in regards to advertising schedules and we have not seen any measurable impact in regards to circulation," she said.

Robinson also said there had been 4.5 million downloads of the New York Times free iPhone application since its launch two years ago and more than 400,000 downloads of its free application for the iPad.

"We're also planning a full paid app for the iPad as part of our overall paid strategy," she said but did not announce a date for its release.

The second-quarter results included a 9.1-million-dollar gain from the sale of part of the Times Co.'s holdings in New England Sports Ventures, which includes the Boston Red Sox baseball team and their stadium, Fenway Park.

The Times Co. said it will continue to search for a buyer for all or part of its stake in New England Sports Ventures.

Times Co. shares were trading 2.10 percent higher in New York at mid-day at 9.24 dollars.