The New York Times Company reported yesterday that their fourth quarter earnings slid 12.2 percent, as the continued decline in print advertising more than offset revenue gains in circulation and digital advertising.
Net income was $58.9 million, or 39 cents a share, compared with $67.1 million, or 44 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.
Total revenue declined 2.8 percent, to $643 million in the quarter
Overall advertising revenue declined 7.1 percent in the fourth quarter, with print being down 7.8 percent and digital 4.9 percent, largely owing to a huge 25.9 percent decline of the company’s About.com web property.
The company continues to be affected, not just by a slow economy in general, but also by the tepid housing market, as real estate classified advertising dropped by 17.3% in the quarter. With no real recovery in sight, it is likely that these numbers will only get worse in the near future, putting even more pressure on the company’s bottom line.
One area where the company saw some growth was in their News Media Group, which includes The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The International Herald Tribune. Digital advertising was actually up by 5.3 percent and circulation revenue by 4.7 percent, driven by the growth of online subscriptions at The Times.
The company is still searching for a replacement for CEO Janet L. Robinson, who resigned from her post in December, but with a less than rosy outlook for the print side of the business, it won’t be easy to find someone who can both save the newspaper and get along with the Sulzberger family at the same time.