A difficult quarter from NYTCo.. the newspaper publisher has announced Q1 revenue of $747.9, down 4.9 percent from $786.0 million in the year-ago period, and below the $752 million that analysts had been expecting. On a comparable basis, excluding various charges, the company earned $.04 per share, down significantly from $.17 per share in the year-ago period. The quarterly number includes an $.07 per share ($10.4 million after tax) write-down after the company reduce the scope of a major advertising and circulation project. The line from CEO Janet Robinson could describe any newspaper company right now: "Advertising revenues decreased in the quarter as weaker economic conditions compounded the effects of secular change in our business." Some highlights:
-- Revenue at the core news media business slipped 5.7 percent to $719.7 million, as advertising fell 10.6 percent. This was partly offset by revenue gains from leasing out five floors at the company's new headquarters, but negatively affected by the loss of TimesSelect revenue.
-- About Group revenue increased 25 percent to $28.2 million from $22.5 million, attributed to higher CPC advertising, as well as certain acquisitions.
-- Total internet revenue, which includes About.com, as well as the internet revenue at the core business, total $82.9 million, for an increase of 11.6 percent year-over year. Digital now accounts for 11 percent of revenue.
-- Buyout costs totaled $11.2 million in the first quarter of 2008 compared with $7.8 million the previous year; flagship NYT is in the midst of a major buyout offer so that amount is likely to grow.
-- The company continues to emphasize its cost-cutting efforts, note a decline in operating costs for the fifth consecutive quarter. Robinson said they're still on track for 2008 savings of approximately $130 million.
-- For the coming month, the company says it will see a slowdown in the rate of ad sales decline back to single digits, but this is mainly due to calendar issues and the production of an issue of KEY Magazine.
-- Separately, the company announced its March numbers: Total revenue was down 6.4 percent to $235.3 million. on an 11.1 percent dip in ad revenue. About revenues were up 22 percent to $8.2 million, while internet ad revenue was up 14.8 percent. Release.
By Joseph Weisenthal