Thursday, December 10, 2009

Media Companies See Slower Ad Declines

New York Times Co., McClatchy Co. and Co. offered signs on Tuesday that advertisers are fleeing newspapers at a slower rate. Meanwhile, TV companies CBS Corp., Discovery Communications Inc. and Belo Corp. noted improvement in the local and national TV advertising markets.

Times Co. said print-ad revenue will fall 25% in the fourth quarter, slightly better than the 30% drop in the third quarter, while digital advertising is expected to increase 10% after a 19% drop in the third quarter. The company also said the Boston Globe, where it has aggressively cut costs, should be "a positive contributor to our performance" in 2010.

"While the print advertising market remains very challenging, trends have improved modestly as the quarter progressed," said Times Co. Chief Executive Janet L. Robinson.

The projections, made at a media industry conference in New York, provided a bit of optimism for traditional media sector, which has been hammered by the loss of advertising sales. The news lifted the share prices of media companies in Tuesday trading. However, the fourth quarter was widely expected to look better at these companies considering the results will be measured against a brutal year-ago period.

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