The New York Times Company just released its first quarter results, and the news is not all good. It's not all bad either though! Here are a few things Hassan Elmasry and other Times finance critics will be using to bolster their anti-Sulzberger cases: earnings per share were $.14, compared to $.21 in the first quarter of 2006. We would call that a 33 percent decrease in earnings per share. Also, operating profit decreased to $54.5 million, as compared to $60.5 million in the first quarter of 2006. That's 10 percent! (Yay, pre-algebra!) But CEO Janet Robinson put a brave face to the numbers. Let's walk you through some key points.
"Despite a difficult print advertising environment, we continued to make progress on our strategy of introducing new products, developing out content verticals, building our innovation capability, aggressively managing costs and rebalancing our portfolio of businesses," she said. Hmm, that doesn't sound so great! But here's a nugget of good news: "Our Internet-related revenues rose 22 percent, in part due to new products, and now account for 10 percent of the Company's revenues."
Bad news masquerading as good news: "Newsprint expense decreased 8.5 percent, with 6.7 percent of the decrease resulting from lower consumption and 1.8 percent from lower prices." Fewer people are buying the paper, and/or fewer papers being printed.
Not great news masquerading as good news: "Circulation revenues for the quarter rose 1.0 percent, mainly because of higher prices at The New York Times Media Group, partially offset by fewer copies sold. In the fourth quarter of 2006, The New York Times raised the newsstand price of the Northeast edition of the Sunday Times and increased home-delivery prices." Read: Barely made a circulation revenue increase despite big price increase.
Good news! TimesSelect has seen subscription growth! But they don't, alas, provide any details.
Really good news! About.com's revenues increased 23.8 percent! Maybe that China expansion actually isn't such a bad idea? And overall Internet revenues grew 21.6 percent. We hear it's the future.