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For newspapers, any news that’s not terrible is considered a win… Take NYTCo (NYSE: NYT), which yesterday reported a 14 percent decline in August revenue, but a decent 7.9 percent gain online. Its stock shot up nearly 12 percent, the kind of upward move you just don’t see among newspaper stocks these days. It helped, of course, that the whole market swung into manic mode in the second half of the day, lifting all players.
But the NYTCo’s gain was nothing compared to Media General (NYSE: MEG), whose stock basically doubled on the day, returning it to levels not seen since February of this year. They too reported not-terrible August revenue, with revenue only falling 4.4 percent. And yet the company attributed the modest decline to political and Olympic spending — ad revenue at its NBC stations was up over 11 percent in the month. Interactive was strong, growing 13.7 percent. It said new sales efforts and strength at its DealTaker.com business contributed to a 45 percent gain in local online advertising. Release.
One big winner yesterday: Harbinger, the activist firm whose two newspaper targets were NYTCo and Media General.