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New York Times Reports Loss, Print Continues To Slide

10/19/10 01:10 PM ET   AP

New York Times

NEW YORK — The New York Times Co. reported a small loss for the third quarter on Tuesday, hurt by one-time expenses and another drop in print advertising revenue.

The publisher of The New York Times, The Boston Globe, the International Herald-Tribune and 15 other daily newspapers has been trying to offset declines in its traditional newspaper business with revenue from its Web operations. But a jump in online ad dollars was not enough to offset declines in print.

The Times Co. said it expects print advertising in the last three months of the year to improve "modestly" from the third quarter but did not offer specifics.

Its stock rose 2 cents to $8.06 in midday trading Tuesday.

The company reported a net loss of $4.3 million, or 3 cents per share, for the July-September quarter. That's better than the net loss of $35.6 million, or 25 cents per share, a year ago, a figure that included bigger one-time expenses.

Excluding severance costs and accounting adjustments, the company would have earned 7 cents per share in the most recent quarter, down from an adjusted figure of 16 cents a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 5 cents per share, excluding unusual items.

Revenue slipped 2.7 percent to $554.3 million from $569.5 million a year ago. Analysts expected $560.3 million.

While digital ad sales, including results from About.com, jumped 15 percent to $78.3 million, print sales slipped almost 6 to roughly $209 million. Circulation revenue, which accounts for subscription fees and newsstand sales, fell 5 percent to $229.1 million.

In a statement, Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson offered an update on the company's progress developing a system to charge readers for full access to the flagship newspaper's website, one of the digital initiatives it hopes will start to pay off in extra online revenue.

She said the company has decided that readers who are referred to Times articles from blogs and other third-party sites will not trigger the mechanism that tracks how many articles online readers view. Beyond a certain number, readers will be asked to pay a monthly fee beginning next year. But the Times doesn't want to lose all the reader traffic that other sites throw off, which translates into higher advertising rates.

The Times also announced separately Tuesday that it will expand its print edition in Texas beginning at the end of the month, partnering with a local nonprofit news organization, The Texas Tribune. Copies of the newspaper that are distributed in Texas will carry extra pages devoted to state news on Fridays and Sundays.

The Times has started similar partnerships in San Francisco and Chicago as nonprofit news outlets proliferate to take up the slack left by shrinking big-city newsrooms.

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Filed by Danny Shea  |