NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Times Co. posted its first quarterly revenue growth since 2007 on Thursday, with a jump in online advertising sales offsetting further declines in print.
Although net income fell 18 percent from a year ago, when the company booked a big one-time tax gain, overall revenue climbed 1.2 percent and ad revenue was flat.
That's a significant milestone because the publisher of The New York Times, The Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune and 15 other daily newspapers pays most of its bills by selling ads.
The company last reported revenue growth in the third quarter of 2007. Since then, revenue has plummeted as advertisers pulled back spending in the recession and continued to find free or cheaper alternatives online. Like other newspaper publishers, the Times Co. has been reporting smaller declines in recent quarters but hasn't seen any rebound in print. Instead, it has scrambled to cut costs and wring more money from online operations.
For the most part, increases in online ad revenue haven't been enough to offset declines in print. Fierce competition for ad dollars on the Web keeps ad rates at just a fraction of what they are in print. Yet the Times Co. managed to keep ad revenue flat in the second quarter, as a 21 percent jump in digital ad sales offset a 6 percent decline in print.
Looking ahead, Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson said the company expects those trends to continue in the third quarter.
The Times Co.'s net income fell 18 percent from a year ago, when it booked a big one-time tax gain. It earned $32 million, or 21 cents per share, in the latest quarter. That compares with $39.1 million, or 27 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding one-time items, the company said it earned 18 cents per share, up from 8 cents.
Revenue climbed 1.2 percent to $590 million, from $583 million.
Meanwhile, the Times Co. continues to get more cash directly from readers, reporting a 3.2 percent increase in circulation revenue after raising subscription and newsstand prices for both the Times and the Globe.
Operating expenses fell 4.3 percent.
The same trends have been playing out at other publishers. Gannett Co., publisher of USA Today and more than 80 other daily newspapers, reported last week that cost cutting helped boost profits, but ad revenue kept falling _ 5.7 percent in its publishing division.
The same was true at Lee Enterprises Inc., publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other newspapers. It earned $10 million in the most recent quarter, reversing a loss a year earlier.
The Washington Post Co. and the McClatchy Co., publisher of The Sacramento Bee and The Miami Herald, are set to report results over the next few weeks.