Online Ad Revenues At The New York Times Keep Dropping Like A Rock

As if the New York Times doesn’t have enough to worry about, with total advertising revenues down 32 percent in the second quarter, its online business is deteriorating as well. In its earnings announcement this morning, the company breaks out Internet advertising revenues of $68 million, which is a 15.5 percent drop from a year ago.

The year-over-year declines keep getting worse, as you can see in the chart above. In the last three quarters the annual decline went from a 3.5 percent drop in the fourth quarter of 2008 to a 6.1 percent decrease in the first quarter of 2009 to negative 15.5 percent this quarter.

Annual Decline In Internet Advertising Revenues

4Q08: -3.5%
1Q09: -6.1%
2Q09: -15.5%

While the $68 million is a fraction of the NYT’s $454 million in total advertising revenues in the quarter (and an even smaller portion of the company’s overall revenues of $702 million, which includes circulation and other sources), the NYT is a bellwether when it comes to media sites on the Web. And if it can’t stem the bleeding on the Web side of its business, other publishers are likely having trouble as well.

There is one glimmer of hope, however. On a sequential basis, compared to last quarter, the NYT’s Internet ad revenues were virtually flat ($68.0 million vs. $67.6 million). And the company as a whole was able to eke out a profit of $21 million, but only because it slashed $132 million worth of costs. And Classified advertsing revenues were down 45 percent. So it is still very much in the woods.