Media group New York Times Company yesterday announced first-quarter earnings more than 20% below those of Q1 2000, blaming a fall in ad revenues and a 5% rise in newsprint costs.

The group, which also publishes The Boston Globe and fifteen other newspapers, plus a shared interest in the International Herald Tribune, posted earnings of $61.3 million (37 cents per share) for the first three months of the year, on revenues of $778m (down from $808m last year).

Russell Lewis, group ceo, attributed the poor results to a seven percent year-on-year fall in ad revenues to $544m, citing the decline in adspend from dotcoms and technology firms. In light of the “continuing economic uncertainty”, the company has lowered its forecast for 2001 total ad revenue, expecting it either to remain flat compared to 2000 or fall slightly.

There appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel – Q2 earnings are now forecast at 46 cents to 52 cents per share, considerably lower than previous analysts’ expectations of 60 cents. Consequently, the group has decided to embark on a “stringent” cost-cutting exercise, involving an unspecified number of job losses.

News source: Financial Times