NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Knight Ridder posted a 27.7% increase in first-quarter net income to $51.8 million with cost controls, improvement in online operations and price increases compensating for continued weakness in advertising revenue.
Advertising revenue dropped 9.3% to $520 million, led by an 18.4% drop in classified advertising revenue.
While first-quarter circulation is expected to be down 0.2% when the Audit Bureau of Circulation reports come out next month, daily and Sunday circulation in April has improved and is running ahead of last year's in the company's eight top markets, said Steven Rossi, president of the newspaper division.
Online units hikes revenue
Knight Ridder Digital,
Chairman-CEO Tony Ridder said the company's April ad revenues, while still negative on a year-ago basis, are down by a smaller percentage than in March. He added that job listings revenue is expected to increase by the fourth quarter, as the economy improves and CareerBuilder executes new strategies to increase sales.
Mr. Rossi said KRD is focusing on packaging online and newspaper job listings together and that the strategy will become noticeable during the second quarter. He added KRD is willing to use discounts as part of its strategy to take market share away from its main competitor, Monster.com.
CareerBuilder, which is jointly owned by Knight-Ridder and the Tribune Co., is currently reviewing its advertising account. Incumbent Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency will not defend the business.
CORRECTION: Due to a typographical error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Knight Ridder's first-quarter net increased by only 2.7%. The actual increase was 27.7%