/// New York Times Loss Narrows
New York Times Co. NYT +10.64% reported a slightly narrower loss for the June quarter, despite a $194.7 million write-down at its Internet business About Group and lower advertising revenue.
Growth in digital subscriptions for the Times’ flagship newspaper and the Boston Globe helped boost circulation revenue 8.3%, however, offsetting a 6.8% decline in advertising revenues.
Overall revenue rose 0.6% to $515.2 million. The company reported a loss of $88.15 million for the quarter, or 60 cents a share, compared with $119 million loss a year earlier, or 79 cents a share, when the publisher took a write-down on its regional newspapers.
The earnings were the third that the company has reported since the departure of its longtime CEO, Janet Robinson, last December. In an earnings call, New York Times Co. chairman and chief executive Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said the board had made “meaningful progress” in a search for Ms. Robinson’s replacement, adding he expected to have “more to share” before the end of this quarter. Times Co.’s current quarter ends Sept. 23.
“Our new CEO must have strong business and digital management skills; must understand the power of brands; and must be able to successfully lead the launch of products that are critical to our future,” Mr. Sulzberger added.
In the latest quarter, digital subscriptions for the New York Times rose 13% from the previous quarter to 532,000, five quarters after the newspaper introduced a paywall, limiting the number of articles people can read free on the website.
Digital advertising remains a weak spot, falling 1.6% at the News Media Group, which includes the New York Times and Boston Globe. The drop was due to declines in national display ads and real estate classifieds.
Looking forward, New York Times Co. vice president and chief financial officer James Follo said he expected digital advertising revenues to pick up in the third quarter, both at the News Media Group and at the About Group.
The About Group, which New York Times Co. bought in 2005 for $410 million, remains a drag on the company. The how-to site About.com has struggled to adjust to changes in Google Inc.’s GOOG +0.88% algorithm in recent years, and is currently in the midst of rebuilding its sales team. Revenue at About Group declined 8.7 %, while operating profit sank 30.4 %.
“Although we recorded a non-cash charge in the quarter, the About Group continues to execute on its turnaround strategy and we expect it to be on track to post continued meaningful improvement in the second half of the year,” Mr. Sulzberger said.