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Earnings: NYTCo Trims Loss On Cost Cuts, But Revenues Continue To Drop

A few days after its flagship announced another round of newsroom cuts, The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) reduced its net loss, thanks to continued cost cutting and higher circulation revenues. The latter stemmed mostly from price hikes across its New England papers, including the Boston Globe.

The company posted a loss of $35.6 million for the quarter. On an operating basis, the company reported a profit of $80.6 million ($0.16 cents a share). Total revenues were down 16.9 percent. Revenues at the About Group unit were up 7.2 percent, but on the digital front in total, it was a different story. Website dollars dropped 7.2 percent. The main point of the NYTCo’s digital struggles in Q3 were centered at the News Media Group, which posted an 18.5 percent decline in online ad revenue. On the print side, the digital declines don’t seem nearly as bad. Advertising revenues fell almost 30 percent for the News Media Group, as print ads declined 31.2 percent.

Earnings release | Webcast (11:00 AM EDT) | Transcript (via Seeking Alpha)

2Q 2009 2Q 2008
EPS -$0.25 -$0.74
Net Income -$35.6M -$106.2M
Revenue $570M $687M

On Monday, the NYT said it was aiming to cut 100 newsroom jobs by the end of the year. The paper’s editor, Bill Keller, said that voluntary buyouts would be offered first, but if the target wasn’t met, the NYT would have to resort to layoffs. Staffers already accepted a 5 percent wage reduction late last year on the promise that it would help avoid another round of job cuts. In Feb. 2008, the NYT said it would shrink the newsroom by 100 through buyouts and layoffs, the first job cuts the paper had in many years. In between those cuts and now, the paper also trimmed a number of jobs on the business side. More job losses are expected on there as well.

As for some more details on its Q3 performance, circulation revenues were up 6.7 percent to $240 million, but that still was not enough to balance out the ad declines. This year, it appeared as though cost-cutting would help maintain profitability for the public newspaper companies. The results this week have been mixed, as Media General (NYSE: MEG) swung to a loss, as Journal Communications (NYSE: JRN) reined in expenses to return to profitability. McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) was able to maintain profitability by holding the line on spending, while Gannett (NYSE: GCI) was unable to prevent profits from falling 47 percent.

Meanwhile, the About Group continues to be a bright spot for the NYTCo. The group, which in addition to the flagship guide site includes CalorieCount, and, lowered operating costs by 4.9 percent to $17 million. The group’s operating profit rose 27.3 percent to $13.7 million.

As for the New England Group, the company reiterated that it was not selling the Boston Globe, it is still trying to unload its Boston Red Sox stake and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. The unit’s revenues fell 12.6 percent to $109 million.