The New York Times said advertising spending dropped severely in December and that the weakness has continued into January. National advertising OK, but classifieds and retailing getting hit.
- Total Q4 revenue (continuing ops) down 7% year over year, ads down 9%. Excluding an additional week in Q4 last year, total revenues down 2%, ads down 4%.
- December advertising down a shocking 12% in the month of December, even after excluding the additional week. Company says this weakness has continued into January.
- Operating income (continuing ops) down from $170 million to $160 million
- Online revenue growth decelerated to 18%, despite 35% growth at About.com. This suggests that online ad revenues at the news properties were very weak.
- Circ revenues up 3% (from price increases)
Hard to overstate how hard advertising got hit in December. Even the flagship New York Times business down 13% in the month (after adjusting for the additional week). This will obviously put the NYT company in an even more precarious position vis a vis angry investors. It also almost certainly suggests we will see (or soon see) a similar fall-off at other major media and Internet companies.
CEO Janet Robinson:
“After total revenues grew in both October and November, advertising softened in December, which had a significant effect on the quarter. Although national advertising continued to increase, due in part to strength in the financial services and entertainment categories, classified and retail advertising declined as the overall economy slowed. Continuing our transition into the digital era, online revenues again demonstrated very strong growth, up nearly 18 per cent in the quarter. Circulation revenues also continued to show gains, up almost 3 per cent.
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