5 Key Quotes from the New York Times Co. on the Newspaper Industry

by: David Jackson

Here are five key quotes from the New York Times conference call:

1. Impact of a weak economy

In the midst of this softening economy and the litany of tough numbers that it spawns, it is no surprise that our business is challenged... total revenues for the company declined 6%, with ad revenues down 10.6%, circulation revenues up 2.5%, and other revenues up 2.5%. Ad revenues at the news media group decreased 11.8%, with national advertising down 5.7%, retail down 9.5%, and classified down 24.4%... Looking at the balance of 2008, we see continued challenges for advertising in a faltering economy. To date in July, we have seen the effects of the deepening economic slowdown, particularly in categories sensitive to the price of oil -- airlines, hotels, and autos. And we expect that this will continue for some time to come.

2. Stronger areas

National print categories that performed well included live entertainment, which has been helped by increased concert and Broadway theater advertising; corporate, which benefited from advertising from energy companies; and fashion jewelry, which saw increased revenues from both fashion and watch advertisers. In total, luxury print advertising, which makes up about 10% of the Times media group’s advertising revenues, increased in the low-single-digits, in part due to the performance of our T-branded Sunday supplemental magazine.

3. Weaker areas

The national print categories where we saw the largest declines were telecommunications, which decreased as wireless carriers reduced their advertising; studio entertainment, which was up against very strong growth in June of 2007; and technology products, which declined as a result of fewer new product campaigns. Classified advertising decreased in all three major categories -- recruitment, real estate, and automotive. Retail advertising revenues were down due to decreased advertising from department stores, mass market, and home furnishing stores.

4. Online business growth

In total, our digital businesses grew nearly 13% in the quarter and generated $91.3 million, or 12.3% of the company’s revenues. Internet advertising revenues generated [should be "grew by"?] 18.3% in the quarter. The About group had another strong quarter. Total revenues grew 15.8% to $28.6 million because of increased cost per click advertising and the acquisition of consumersearch.com in May of 2007. The ongoing development of content verticals across all of our websites has helped the Times Company become the 11th most visited parent company on the web in the United States, with 47.2 million unique visitors in June, up approximately 10% from June of 2007. Our reach represents nearly 30% of the online audience in the United States. NYTimes.com continued to show exceedingly strong traffic growth, as we provided access to the content that was formerly part of Times Select, the paid product we made free last September, and we have accordingly benefited from the growth of search as the dominant entryway to the web. According to Nielsen Online, in June the number of unique visitors totaled 17.7 million, up 41%. The audience of NYTimes.com is nearly twice the size of the next newspaper website.

5. Price increases

We plan to increase the daily newsstand price of the Times from $1.25 to $1.50 effective August 18th. The Globe increased its newsstand price in the metropolitan Boston area from $0.50 to $0.75 in February.

The quotes are taken from the NYT transcript which was published on Seeking Alpha a few hours after the call ended. If you think I missed something more important than these quotes, please copy and paste your quote from the full transcript and leave as a comment below.

I've also put together a separate post focused on NYT's digital business: Key Datapoints on Internet Advertising and Content from The New York Times Co.