Wednesday, March 2, 2011

NYTimes Co. gives improved outlook on print ads

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Times Co. said Wednesday that the decline in print advertising revenue has gotten smaller since late January.

In the fourth quarter, print advertising revenue dropped 7 percent over the previous year. The company said the print advertising decline was in the low single digits in February.

Digital advertising revenue grew in the mid-single digits, though it's still not enough to offset declines in print. Digital advertising made up just 15 percent of total revenue in the fourth quarter.

The newspaper business is four years into a steep decline, sagging under the pressure of a recession and the rise of Web-based competitors. Print advertising revenue was once the dominant source of revenue at most newspapers, but made up only 43 percent of the Times company's total revenue in the fourth quarter. Most of the remainder comes from circulation.

The company issued its outlook hours before a presentation at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference in San Francisco. Shares increased 31 cents, or 3 percent, to $10.43 in afternoon trading Wednesday.

The Times Co., which publishes The Boston Globe and 16 other daily newspapers besides the flagship newspaper, also expects operating costs to rise 1 percent to 2 percent in the first quarter, mostly because of higher newsprint prices, pension expenses and promotion costs. Like other newspaper publishers, the Times Co. is profitable because of aggressive cost cutting. It has trimmed staff and closed printing plants over the past few years.

The company added Wednesday it's in the final testing phase of its plan to charge readers who go over a certain monthly limit of free articles at

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