The New York Times Co. continued to falter as it put its stake in the Boston Red Sox up for sale today after reporting a $57.8 million loss in 2008.
Goldman Sachs will help the company sell its 17.75% stake in New England Sports Ventures, which owns the Sox, Fenway Park, around 80% of the New England Sports Network on cable and 50% of the Nascar team Roush Fenway Racing, said Advertising Age.
Not surprisingly, a lack of ad revenue was to blame for the paper’s huge loss in profit, which was down from $208.7 million in 2007. Though the company derived 60% of its 2008 revenue from ad sales, such sales declined 13.1% last year.
The company also posted a fourth-quarter decline, with even internet ad revenue falling 3.5%. Digital ad revenue did rise 9.3% over the whole year, however, ad did circulation revenue, which grew 2.3% due to price hikes in the cost of newspapers.
During a conference call, Times Co. President-CEO Janet L. Robinson reportedly tried to maintain a positive front for investors, saying that though advertisers will likely remain wary about spending ad dollars, the Times could remain a powerhouse as others in the industry falter.
“As other newspapers cut back on international and national coverage — or cease operation — we believe there will be opportunities for The Times to fill this void," Robinson said.
Trouble continued to persist elsewhere in the print industry as the McClatchy Co. – which publishes 30 newspapers including the Miami Herald and Sacramento Bee – said Tuesday it will suspend paying its quarterly dividend “for the foreseeable future” to save cash to help pay off its debts.
Meanwhile, Condé Nast Publications announced today that it will shutter Domino, its shopping and home décor magazine. Publication of the three-year-old magazine will cease in March, as most of Domino’s staff of about 80 will be dismissed. Domino too saw a large drop in ad revenue, as ad pages dropped 26% from January 2007 to January 2008. Other publishers have also dropped their home design publications – Time Inc. recently closed In Style Home and Cottage Living and Hearst ended O at Home.
Earlier this week, 30 staffers were let go from Reed Business, which cut employees at Variety, Publishers Weekly, 411, Video Business and Trade Show Week.