New York Times beats revenue, earnings estimates

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Times Co posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and for the first time in three years increased revenue as advertising stabilized and readers paid more for its newspapers.

The publisher on Thursday said advertising revenue was about flat in the second quarter, raising hopes among investors that the newspaper business might recover after a prolonged slump. Total revenue rose 1 percent.

Shares of the company, owner of the Times and The Boston Globe, rose 3 percent to $9.32 in early trading.

“I think the New York Times turned to growth faster than the others,” said Noble Financial analyst Michael Kupinski. “The whole industry seems like it’s doing a little bit better.”

Ad revenue should improve in the third quarter, New York Times Co Chief Executive Janet Robinson said.

Digital ad revenue rose 21 percent, offsetting a 6 percent decline in print advertising. The company said online ad revenue represents 26 percent of total ad revenue in the second quarter, up from 22 percent a year ago.

At its New York Times Media Group, which includes the Times newspaper and the International Herald Tribune, revenue rose 2 percent to $381 million on a 1 percent rise in ad revenue and 4 percent rise in circulation revenue.

The group’s national ad revenue, an important category for the Times, rose almost 4 percent to $156.2 million.

Rival newspaper publisher Gannett Co Inc said last week that national advertising fell about 2 percent at its U.S. papers, mainly because of a drop in ad revenue at USA Today.

The New York Times posted second-quarter net income of $32 million, or 21 cents a share, compared with $39 million, or 27 cents a share, a year ago.

The company’s adjusted profit, which excludes a gain on the sale of part of its stake in its New England sports assets, was 18 cents a share -- surpassing the average analyst estimate of 13 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue of $589.6 million also beat analysts’ expectations of $576.1 million.

Reporting by Jennifer Saba, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Robert MacMillan