US newspaper group the New York Times Company posted an 11% year-on-year drop in first-quarter net income to $54.5 million (€61.9m; £37.9m), as the soft ad market – particularly in the recruitment, financial and tech sectors – offset a strong increase in circulation income.

Total revenues stood at $737m, down 5.3% from last year after a 10.2% fall in ad income, though circulation revenues climbed 8.8%, reflecting the rise in subscription prices at the Boston Globe and the flagship New York Times.

President/ceo Russell Lewis expressed confidence in the prospects for 2002 as a whole. “As we look out toward the balance of the year,” he said, “we are optimistic about the outlook for the national economy in general and the advertising market in particular.”

He forecast that full-year earnings would see percentage growth in the mid-single to low-double-digit range if the ad market – described as “recovering, but still weak” – picks up in the second half. If the upturn fails to materialise, earnings growth will be “modest”.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; New York Times; additional content by WARC staff