Friday, 25 July 2008

IHT and NYT do finally report their earnings.

I criticised the IHT for not publishing online or in print on Wednesday or Thursday figures that were published on Wednesday.

Today however they have and here it is below. Why the delay though, and again, is it appropriate for NYT journalists to report on their own company when no end of wire stories were available for use from Wednesday?

They managed to get up the appointment of a new IHT exec. editor pretty damn fast, so what was the journalist doing on the piece below? Running it past Janet Robinson for the O.K?

Time to dig out that fat old NYT journalistic ethics book I think.

There might be a Chinese Wall between advertisers and edit, but I don't see much evidence of one between edit and management when it comes to reporting their own company.

I think it's fair to say that in contrast to other reports and media commentators, the NYT journalist puts the best possible face on things. No 'plummet' in the earning decline headline, no mention of 'down 82%' in the first para, just for example. (I've flagged some other positive spin in bold below.)

Earnings decline at New York Times
The New York Times Company reported net income on Wednesday of $21.1 million in the second quarter, down from $118.4 million in the quarter a year ago, when it recorded revenue from the sale of the company's television stations.
Excluding one-time gains and losses from asset sales in the quarter a year ago, earnings from continuing operations fell to 15 cents a share, from 29 cents, on sharply lower advertising revenue.
Excluding costs for job cuts, the results slightly exceeded analyst expectations.
The New York Times newspaper will increase its daily newsstand price by 25 cents, to $1.50, effective Aug. 18, Janet Robinson, the president and chief executive, announced in a conference call with analysts. The company had already announced a 4.5 percent subscription price increase that begins this month. It raised both subscription and newsstand prices in July 2007.
The company, like the entire newspaper industry, continues to be battered by the economic downturn and the long-term shift of readers and advertisers from print to the Internet, and Robinson warned of more rough sledding ahead.
"We expect to see a tough second half if the economy continues to act as it's acting now," she said. "I think there still is increased difficulty with regard to the ad market going forward."
Revenue in the quarter dropped 6 percent, to $741.9 million, from $788.9 million, and operating costs fell 2.1 percent, to $701.6 million, from $717 million. Excluding depreciation, amortization and buyout costs, operating costs dropped 3.6 percent.
Excluding costs for employee buyouts of $15.7 million after taxes, or 11 cents a share, earnings were 26 cents.
On that basis, analysts had expected 22 cents.
Analysts say that 2008 is shaping up as the worst year for the newspaper business since the Depression, and the second quarter is clearly worse than the first.
Overall newspaper revenue at the Times Company was $713.3 million, down from $764.2 million. Operating profit was $44.5 million; in the quarter a year earlier it was $46.7 million or, excluding the effect of asset sales, $71.9 million.
The company's newspapers recorded a drop of 11.8 percent, to $427.6 million, in combined print and online advertising revenue in the quarter, including a 17.8 percent fall in June — a dismal showing, yet better than average for the industry.
The Gannett Company, the country's largest newspaper chain, reported last week that newspaper ad revenue in the second quarter fell 13.5 percent from a year earlier. Media General, another major newspaper publisher, recorded a 17.1 percent decline.
The Times newspaper continued to fare better than others in the company, in keeping with the pattern of recent years.
The New York Times Media Group, which consists of The Times and the International Herald Tribune, had a 9.5 percent decline in ad revenue in the last quarter.
Ad revenue fell 15.1 percent at the New England Media Group, which includes The Boston Globe, and 16 percent at the Regional Media Group.
Internet revenue at the company rose 12.8 percent in the quarter, to $91.3 million, and online advertising rose 18.3 percent, to $80.8 million. That represented about 12.3 percent of the company's total revenue in the quarter, compared with 10.3 percent a year ago.
Revenue rose 15.8 percent, to $28.6 million, at the About Group, which includes, and operating profit climbed 7.1 percent, to $9.1 million.
Circulation revenue, which is falling at most newspaper companies, rose 2.5 percent, to $224.2 million, primarily because of a price increase at The Times.
While revenue fell below analysts' expectations, so did expenses. The company said it would exceed the goal set last year of cutting annual costs by $230 million by the end of 2008. It signaled that the cost of staff reductions would be greater than previously anticipated, predicting buyout costs in the second half of $40 million to $50 million, up from the earlier estimate of $30 million to $35 million.

International Herald Tribune
New York Times

No comments: