Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

At Last: The New York Times Halts Its Advertising Skid

It’s not a world-beating quarter, but the New York Times (NYT) will take it: Advertising revenue for the second quarter was…flat. That hasn’t happened for a long time, and it helped the publisher push overall revenue up a modest 1.2 percent, to $589.6 million, and earnings per share to $0.18, up from $0.08 a year ago.

The quick breakdown: Print ads are still declining and were down 6.1 percent. But that’s better than the 12.3 percent drop the paper recorded in Q1 of this year. And digital ads were up 21.2 percent; digital now represents 26 percent of the company’s ad revenue. Circulation revenue was up 3.2 percent.

Do recall that last year the paper, along with the rest of the media business, was still reeling from the economic meltdown, so these are very weak comps. But, they’re still an improvement.

More on the way, says CEO Janet Robinson, who predicts print ads will move up again in Q3. But she says the paper can’t expect the same bump from digital–she is looking for something “in the mid- to high teens.”

And costs are going to start creeping up, too, due to the “impact of rising newsprint prices, the timing and level of variable compensation, the elimination of certain salary rollbacks, and increased promotional spending and other costs associated with the launch of the pay model.” [Emphasis added]

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik