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Web Ad Sales Help New York Times Co. Halt Declines

Revenue climbed 1.2 percent to $590 million, from $582.7 million, and was still far below the $789 million it booked in the same quarter of 2007. Operating expenses fell 4.3 percent to $528.8 million, from $552.4 million.

Online ad revenue jumped 21 percent to more than $80 million, while print advertising declined 6 percent to nearly $235 million.

Even a small increase in revenue is a significant milestone for the Times Co.

Like other publishers, the Times Co. has suffered over the past two years as the recession forced cutbacks in ad spending. At the same time, more ad dollars have moved to the Web, where fierce competition keeps ad prices at just a fraction of what they are in print.

The second quarter was the first in which the Times Co. was able to make enough money online to offset print declines.

That could help the company avoid the kind of painful cost cutting that it resorted to during the recession. It slashed about 18 percent of its work force last year.

Still, the Times Co. was able to report flat ad revenue only by including ad sales from the About Group, standalone websites the company acquired in 2005. The News Media Group, which includes the newspapers and its websites, saw ad revenue decline 2.3 percent.

And an uneven performance across the company's newspapers suggests that the digital tide might not lift every boat.

Overall ad revenue at the flagship newspaper, the International Herald Tribune and their websites climbed 1 percent. But ad revenue at the New England Media Group, which includes the Globe and the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, Mass., dropped 9 percent. The Regional Media Group, consisting of 14 smaller dailies, saw ad revenue fall 7 percent.

Results from newspaper companies with a bigger footprint in local markets show online ad sales haven't completely offset print declines either.

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