NEW YORK TIMES CO. REPORTS FIRST-QUARTER DECLINES

Ad Revenue Down for 'NYT' but Second-Half Recovery 'Seems Likely'

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The New York Times Co. reported net income dropped 11.1% in the first quarter, to $54.5 million, from $61.3 million in 2001, blaming the declines on the continued weakness in advertising.

Revenue dropped 5.3% to $737.1 million, with a small increase in circulation revenue partly offsetting weak advertising revenues, which dropped 10.2% to $488.7 million from $544.3 million.

'NYT' ad revenue down
Advertising revenue at the company's flagship newspaper, the New York Times, dropped 12.4%, which was only partly offset by a 11.2% increase in circulation revenue, due to both increased circulation and price increases. New York Times Digital, the company's online unit, posted an operating profit of $181,000 for the quarter, up from a loss of $7.7 million in 2001.

Management was upbeat, betting that an economic recovery will help struggling ad categories such as technology and financial services and that continued cost-cutting will help the balance sheet. Layoffs are expected to continue until the third quarter, said Chief Financial Officer Leonard Foreman.

Recovery 'seems likely'
"Barring any economic shocks resulting from the turmoil in the Middle East, a second-half recovery now seems likely," Mr. Foreman said.

He estimated that if the national economy and the advertising market recover in the second half, as expected, the company will show earnings per share growth "in the mid-single-digit to low-double-digit range."

Without a recovery, the company will see "modest" numbers, but could still show year-over-year improvements, thanks to easy comparisons, he said.

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