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NYT second-quarter operating profit more than twice 2009 figure

July 23rd, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Advertising, Business, Newspapers

The New York Times Company has reported operating profit for the second-quarter rose to $60.8 million from $23.5 million in the same period the previous year, excluding some special items. The figures show the first increase in quarterly revenue since 2007, as a growth in digital advertising halted decline in print advertising.

The company NYT statement also showed that second-quarter revenue had risen to $589.6 million from $584.5 million one year ago. However, net income dropped to $32 million from $39 million year-over-year.

Digital advertising revenue rose 21 per cent, making up 26 per cent of total ad revenue compared to 22 per cent the year before. They also reported that print advertising has improved, from a 12.3 per cent downturn in the previous quarter, to six per cent.

The company also gained a 3.2 per cent rise in circulation revenue, put down to higher subscription and newsstand prices for both the Times and the Globe.

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Johnston Press’ ad revenues feel effects of recession

August 28th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Newspapers

Johnston Press has today reported half-year revenues of £218.6 million – down 25.4 per cent year-on-year.

Print advertising revenue fell by 33.5 per cent; while digital advertising revenues also declined – by 18.8 per cent.

The publisher’s revenue from employment advertising was down by 53.8 per cent, property ads by 54.2 per cent, motors by 29.3 per cent and from other classifieds by 11.5 per cent.

The company’s interim report said ad revenues were down 32.7 per cent in the first six months of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008.

In an attempt to improve their digital recruitment sites and therefore their appeal to recruitment advertisers, Johnston Press has entered into a joint venture with Daily Mail & General Trust, giving them access to the latter’s Jobsite software.

The report also expresses the group’s struggle ‘to compete with the regional activities of the publicly funded BBC digital presence’, claiming that it ‘distorts the markets within which they operate through making the charging for news content extremely difficult’.

“The timing of the economic upturn remains uncertain but advertising revenues are demonstrating greater stability
and we expect the cyclical improvement when it comes to more than compensate any structural change. We will
maintain our focus on costs and look to secure operating efficiencies during the second half of the year,” said CEO John Fry in the report.

Yesterday the publisher celebrated success after it was announced that it had attracted the most unique users, to its network of regional newspaper websites, in the first six months of 2009.

The publisher, which is responsible for more than 323 websites, recorded 6,864,820 monthly unique users on average over the period, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic’s six-monthly report for regional newspaper groups.

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MediaGuardian: Independent News & Media falls into the red

August 28th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

The newspaper group fell into the red in the first six months of 2009 – a result of a massive drop in advertising revenues, reports MediaGuardian.

The group has reported a pre-tax loss of €48.5 million (approximately £42.7 million) for the six months to the end of June – compare this with last year’s profit of €96.8 million (£85.2 million) – and cited the costs of reducing staff, writing down the value of its newspaper titles and other ‘exceptional items’.

Advertising revenues for the group fell by 25.8 per cent from the last report to €608.8 million (£535.6 million).

Full story and figures at this link…

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Darlington Councillor: Council newspapers and a ‘one-eyed’ local press

August 26th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

(via HoldtheFrontPage)

Labour councillor for Haughton West, Nick Wallis, responds to comments made by Northern Echo editor Peter Barron about the impact of council newspapers on the local press.

Wallis says he isn’t sure council budget cutting will inevitably lead to the closure of local authority publications (much criticised by the local media for their impact on advertising revenues and local democratic coverage).

“A key point is that a lot of local newspapers, do not operate like the Echo which is broadly fair in its treatment of news stories. It’s a bum rap if whatever you do, no matter how well, the local paper slags you off as ‘loony left’ because of the general political bias of the media group. It’s precisely the one-eyed nature of a lot of the local press that generated the growth of council magazines, because local authorities wanted to talk directly to their residents, and avoid the hostile spin continually imposed by media,” writes Wallis.

However, he later adds that councils should do more to support local media and encourage a ‘strong, independent local press’.

“At the same time, local papers have to accept that councils have the right to communicate directly with their residents, and not always have to have their news reflected through the prism of the paper,” he says.

Full post at this link…

See also: ‘Council newspapers: a disaster for democracy’

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Jon Bernstein: What if the business model for news ain’t broke?

July 8th, 2009 | 16 Comments | Posted by in Comment, Online Journalism

In what may feel like a twist of logic too far, there are a growing number of non-media companies who are adopting the Fourth Estate’s digital business model.

That’s the ad-funded, free-to-the-consumer model.

You know the one.

It’s at the root of the crisis afflicting the newspaper industry around the world, an industry which is trying desperately to make money online. Or at least not haemorrhage it.

To believe the unholy trinity that is News International, Daily Mail and General Trust, and the Guardian Media Group, the media model is unworkable, unsustainable and it’s got to go.

The three are not sure if it should be replaced by paywalls, micropayments, subscriptions or something else entirely.

But what they are agreed on is that it cannot be business as usual. Because that business is going under.

So why do we find the likes of Facebook, Digg and the mighty Google – and perhaps soon Amazon- adopting the ad-funded model to support services and software.

Take Gmail. It’s not a media entity, it’s email, but it is ad-supported.

One answer is that that advertising is the last, desperate (and largely) failing attempt to generate some money, given nobody wants to pay for their products. In short: free reigns.

On that latter point, Wired’s editor-in-chief Chris Anderson is likely to agree.

His new book ‘Free: The Future of a Radical Price’ – appropriately available to read and listen to online without charge – celebrates ‘freeconomics’, but has a much more positive take on its effect on the business world.

The reason, he says, people are convinced that ad-funded won’t work is because they are applying the conventional rules.

Offline – in newspapers, magazines, billboards, TV and radio – advertising is predicated on scarcity not abundance. Ad sales people trade on ‘space’ and the less there is the higher the yield.

So when there is infinite space online, their greatest selling tool disappears.

Right? Wrong.

Anderson argues that there is another kind of advertising which is epitomised by Google’s text ads:

“Google doesn’t sell space. It sells users’ intentions – what they’ve declared to be interested in, in the form of a search query.

“And that’s a scarce resource. The number of people typing in ‘Berkeley dry cleaner’ on any given day is finite.”

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt – admittedly a man with a vested interest – estimates that the potential market for online advertising is $800bn.

“That’s twice the total advertising market, online and off, today,” notes Anderson.

So why is his tone at such odds with that of the media he is writing about?

Perhaps it has something to do with the production-cycle of book publishing. This book was in train before he had even finished writing the much-admired The Long Tail.

Clearly much of his thinking predates the collapse of Lehman Brothers which sealed our current economic fate.

His penultimate chapter, presumably added very late in the day and titled ‘Coda: Free in a Time of Economic Crisis’, is an acknowlegement of that, although not a denunciation of his core argument.

Just maybe, it’s the down-in-the-mouth media owners who are out of time, not Anderson.

Maybe this rush to find other ways to monetise will be a passing phase and when the economy picks up so too will online advertising revenues.

After all, what’s the alternative?

Pay walls may work for niche information but not for mainstream news and exclusives. That’s something that even the Wall Street Journal, poster child of the paid model, accepts.

Interviewed earlier this year its executive editor Alan Murray said:

“Look, if it’s a big news story, if we report a takeover and – we could hold that behind the pay wall. But if we do, BusinessWeek or someone else will simply write a story saying ‘The Wall Street Journal is reporting x’ and they’ll get all the traffic. Why would we do that?

“So if it’s that kind of a big, broad-interest news story, we’ll put it outside the pay wall and go ahead and take the traffic ourselves, thank you very much.”

Jon Bernstein is former multimedia editor of Channel 4 News. This is part of a series of regular columns for Journalism.co.uk. You can read his personal blog at this link.

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Ad spend will bounce back, says Fry; multiple models needed, counters McCall

June 16th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

Amidst what was otherwise a fairly gloomy House of Commons select committee session on the future of local media in the UK [see Claire Enders' prediction that half of the UK's regional newspapers will close in five years and her comments on bloggers], Johnston Press chief executive John Fry remained staunchly optimistic about the cyclical/structural elements of the decline in local media.

While all members of the panel agreed that this was the worst crisis faced by local media in the industry’s history, Fry said the decline in advertising revenues for his group was more cyclical than structural.

“That implies that there will be a bounce in advertising when that changes. From here onwards we’re likely to bottom out. When the economy recovers we’ll see a recovery in advertising,” he said.

Guardian Media Group chief executive Carolyn McCall was quick to temper Fry’s optimism:

“I don’t believe the prospects for recovery, particularly in classified advertising are particularly strong. I don’t expect to see a great deal of those three big markets – I don’t think bounce is the right word – I think it will come back slowly, it will come back in a different form or shape,” she said.

“The structural change is too profound and the economic recession has just hammered it. Deregulation is one step towards helping. It’s not a panacea. It raises all sorts of important issues about jobs.

“One thing we’re going to have to face about this industry is that it’s going to be a smaller industry with less people in it. Consolidation will help because then the clustering of assets in the right place, will makes more sense, you’ll get more scale.”

All three panellists (Fry, McCall and Trinity Mirror’s Sly Bailey) taking part in the evidence session (which had earlier taken comments from Claire Enders and DC Thomson’s Christopher Thomson) supported consolidation and the relaxation of newspaper merger rules to help local newspapers.

Yet it was McCall again with the most sensible comments – a range of issues and possible solutions need to be considered: discussions about aggregators; consolidation; support for web development; the use of part-paid, part-free access; state-funding; and the problem of council newspapers.

The industry needs to move away from the display advertising model to – not just one business model – but lots of business models, she added.

If any of them can sustain quality local journalism, none should be ruled out, she said, echoing comments from the Society of Editor’s executive director Bob Satchwell to Journalism.co.uk last week.

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Reuters: ‘Johnston Press 2009 ad revenues slump 36 per cent’

March 11th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

“British regional newspaper group Johnston Press axed its final 2008 dividend on Wednesday after saying its advertising revenues in 2009 to date were down 36 per cent,” Reuters reports.

“The group, which has been especially hard hit by its high exposure to local classified advertising and sectors such as employment, housing and motoring, posted 2008 results in line with forecasts, with operating profit down 28 per cent.”

Full story at this link…

and another report from MediaGuardian at this link.

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FT results: FT.com paid-for subscriptions up 9%

March 2nd, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Traffic

According to parent company Pearson’s preliminary financial results for 2008, released today, the Financial Times’ website saw a 9 per cent growth in paid-for subscribers to 109,609.

Register users – the free-part of the access model – increased from approximately 150,000 at the end of 2007 to 966,000 by the end of last year.

In September last year, FT.com managing director Rob Grimshaw told Journalism.co.uk that the financial crisis had caused an explosion in registrations and subscriptions to the site.

Advertising revenues for FT Publishing as a group fell by 4 per cent, but overall profits for 2008 rose by 13 per cent to £195 million.

“[G]rowth of digital and subscription businesses and strong demand for premium content exceed decline in advertising revenues,” said a release from Pearson.

“At the FT Group, we anticipate continued strong demand for high-quality analysis of global business, finance, politics and economics; a tough year for advertising; strong renewal rates in our subscription businesses; and continued growth at Interactive Data.”

The group’s publishing division posted a 9 per cent increase in sales to £74m (£56m in 2007).

Pearson itself recorded an adjusted operating profit rise of 11 per cent to £762 million in 2008.

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MediaGuardian: Trinity Mirror ad revenue falls by a fifth

November 13th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Trinity Mirror has reported a fall by 21 per cent in underlying group advertising revenues since the end of June 2008, with property ad income ads down by nearly 50 per cent, reports the Guardian.

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MediaGuardian: Johnston Press advertising continues to fall

August 27th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Editors' pick, Newspapers

In their half-yearly report the regional newspaper group Johnston Press announced that advertising revenues are down by 21 per cent year on year, for the first seven weeks of the second half of 2008.

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