NEW YORK, Dec 24 (Reuters) - The New York Times Co’s (NYT.N) November advertising revenue fell 20 percent, the company said on Wednesday, illustrating how the financial crisis is aggravating dizzying revenue declines at U.S. newspapers.
Ad revenue at the publisher’s New York Times Media Group, which includes the Times newspaper, fell 21.2 percent from a year earlier because of a drop in real estate and jobs classified advertising.
Studio entertainment, automotive, book and financial services ads also were weak, the Times said in a statement.
The New England unit, which includes The Boston Globe newspaper, as well as the group representing its other U.S. papers, also fell.
Total company revenue fell 13.9 percent.
Most publicly traded newspaper publishers release monthly numbers because Wall Street scrutinizes them for sometimes minute changes, and their stocks often can rise or fall by significant amounts as a result.
For the Times, the numbers are important because it is trying to meet its 2009 debt obligations and reduce borrowing. At the same time, it is trying to save money as the newspaper business worsens.
Privately held Tribune Co earlier this month filed for bankruptcy and Journal Register Co JRCO.PK has filed a forbearance agreement with its lenders as it restructures. AH Belo Corp (AHC.N) and McClatchy Co (MNI.N) have amended their debt terms with lenders to avoid edging closer to violating their agreements.
The Times is considering selling some of its properties, but has not yet said which ones.
Internet ad revenue, long a source of hope among newspaper publishers battered by falling print ad sales and circulation, dropped 4 percent in the news media group. That reflects a decline in online jobs and real estate ads.
For the first 11 months of the year, Internet ad revenue in the news media group is up 10.9 percent compared with the same period a year earlier.
At About.com, the online encyclopedia that the Times owns, ad revenue fell 3.5 percent. So far this year, ad revenue is up 12.9 percent compared with last year.
New York Times shares fell 34 cents, or 5.37 percent, to $5.99 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Robert MacMillan; Editing by Derek Caney)