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New York Times Reports Q1 Profit, Digital Ad Revenues Now 26% Of Total

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After significantly scaling down costs, The New York Times Company this morning announced upbeat Q1 2010 results, reporting a profit and growing digital advertising sales.

NYT’s operating profit grew more than fivefold in the first quarter of 2010, to $83.3 million compared with $16.4 million in the first quarter of 2009. Total revenues were down 3.2% in Q1, to $587.9 million from $607.1 million in the same period last year.

That’s not bad news, considering that the media company reported a decline of 11.5 percent in last quarter before that (Q4 2009). Could this be signs of a turn-around?

Interestingly, The New York Times Company reported solid growth in digital advertising revenues (up 18 percent), offsetting an expected but rather significant decrease in print advertising across the board as revenue dropped 12 percent.

Total advertising revenues for the quarter declined ‘only’ 6 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period the year before, in large part thanks to the rise in digital sales revenue.

Noteworthy: online advertising revenues now make up more than a quarter of the company’s total advertising revenues: it rose to 26 percent in the first quarter, up from 20 percent in the year before and 23.5 percent in the third quarter of 2009.

The company’s Internet businesses include NYTimes.com, About.com, Boston.com and other Web sites. In the first quarter, total Internet revenues increased 15.5 percent to $90.4 million from $78.2 million, and online advertising revenues increased 18.3 percent to $80.0 million from $67.6 million.

Internet advertising revenues at the News Media Group increased 11.2 percent to $46.9 million from $42.2 million due to strong growth in national display advertising, while classified advertising is still hurting.

The paper intends to start charging for some of its content next year.

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