Summary:

The New York Times Co. had quite a few tidbits on its Q3 call. Highlights:
— CEO Janet Robinson and other Times executives said they were…

The New York Times Co. had quite a few tidbits on its Q3 call. Highlights:
— CEO Janet Robinson and other Times executives said they were pleased with the progress of the company’s digital initiatives, which they call are a major focus. As noted in the morning’s earnings report, TimesSelect, the fee-based service which just celebrated its first anniversary, has more than 551,000 subscribers. As of September, the service has generated more than $7 million in revenue. The company’s decision to allow TimesSelect subscribers to get access to its archives has proven popular with existing subscribers and is helping the Times attract new ones.
— About.com is benefiting from the company’s recent acquisitions of Calorie-Count.com. and BaselineStudio Systems. The Times wants to expand About.com, which it is the second-largest health channel and the fourth-largest food channel, outside the U.S. Martin Niesenholz, who heads the company’s online operations, pointed out that the yields on advertisements on About.com have been increasing since the Times purchased the company last year.
– Robinson dismissed speculation that the Times would go private. “We have been a public company since 1969. During that time there have been significant vicissitudes in the stock market. Only the Ochs-Sulzberger family (the company’s largest stockholders) can change the capital structure. They have given no indication that they plan to do so.” In addition, she brushed aside speculation that the Times might sell the underperforming Boston Globe saying, “We view the Globe as an extremely important asset to our overall portfolio.” Robinson said she expects the advertising picture in New England to improve next year as several national retailers including Neiman Marcus expanding in the region. Improvements to the Boston.com site are also in the works.
— Cost-cutting is a big focus for Times management as it focuses on expanding its digital footprint. The company is consolidating the print operations in the New York area and has reduced the size of the paper to reduce newsprint use. In addition, the Times also is selling its broadcast media group, which owns 9 television stations. The company is “extremely pleased'” with the progress of the sale, which will take several months to complete. Buyers have expressed an interest both in acquiring all of the stations and in individual properties, Robinson said.

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