The New York Times said advertising spending dropped severely in December and that the weakness has continued into January. National advertising okay, but classifieds and retailing getting hit.
* Total Q4 revenue (continuing ops) down 7% year over year, ads down 9%. Excluding an additional week in Q4 last year, total revenues down 2%, ads down 4%.
* December advertising down a shocking 12% in the month of December, even after excluding the additional week. Company says this weakness has continued into January.
* Operating income (continuing ops) down from $170 million to $160 million
* Online revenue growth decelerated to 18%, despite 35% growth at About.com. This suggests that online ad revenues at the news properties were very weak.
* Circ revenues up 3% (from price increases)
Hard to overstate how hard advertising got hit in December. Even the flagship New York Times business down 13% in the month (after adjusting for the additional week). This will obviously put the NYT company in an even more precarious position vis a vis angry investors. It also almost certainly suggests we will see (or soon see) a similar fall-off at other major media and Internet companies.
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