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Web Ad Sales Help New York Times Co. Halt Declines

ANDREW VANACORE

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ The New York Times Co. has managed to steady itself after more than two years of watching its main source of revenue â¿¿ newspaper advertising â¿¿ drop at an alarming rate.

And it has done so at least in part by tapping a force that has contributed much to its decline: the Web.

Second-quarter results, released Thursday, showed the Times Co.'s advertising revenue finally stopped falling as a 21 percent jump in digital ad sales canceled a 6 percent decline in print. Overall revenue grew about 1 percent because of subscription and newsstand price increases at the flagship newspaper and The Boston Globe, one of 16 other dailies the company owns.

It was the company's first revenue gain since 2007. And CEO Janet Robinson said the company expects the same advertising trends to continue in the third quarter.

That is not to say the Times Co. or the newspaper industry as a whole is in great shape. Print advertising still accounts for nearly three quarters of the company's total ad revenue, and it is still sliding. Overall ad revenue at the Globe and the Times Co.'s smaller regional dailies continued to fall in the second quarter.

Still, an increase in revenue from NYTimes.com and other websites could help give the Times Co. some breathing room as it experiments with new initiatives such as mobile applications on smart phones and fees for reading news online.

"Digital really kicked in, and it's big enough now to really matter," Benchmark Co. analyst Edward Atorino said. "They've put a lot of muscle behind NYTimes.com, and it's paying off."

The results gave Times Co. shares a modest boost Thursday. The stock closed up 11 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $9.16.

The company reported an 18 percent drop in net income compared with a year ago, when it recorded a big one-time tax gain. It earned $32 million, or 21 cents per share, in the latest quarter, down from $39.1 million, or 27 cents per share. Excluding one-time items, the company said earnings more than doubled to 18 cents per share from 8 cents.

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