ONE SMALL STEP: It was a modest gain, but at least a gain. The New York Times Co. managed to eke out an increase in revenues for the first time in almost three years in the second quarter thanks to a circulation bump and increased online ad sales. The newspaper publisher said Thursday that total revenues in the three months were up 1.2 percent to $589.6 million. It last posted a better year-to-year top line in September 2007. Profits fell to $31.8 million from $39.1 million in the absence of a year-ago tax benefit, but the firm said earnings per share from continuing operations were 18 cents versus 8 cents in 2009.
Digital ad sales — which made up roughly one quarter of the company’s total ad revenues — were up 21.2 percent in the quarter while print sales fell 6.1 percent. Circulation revenues grew 3.2 percent. On a conference call with analysts, president and chief executive officer Janet Robinson said the ad market is improving and the publisher is still working to cut costs (code, perhaps, for more layoffs ahead).
“Our luxury advertisers are increasing their spending, as evidenced by the revenue growth we saw across our Web site in the quarter, including within our T: Style franchise,” Robinson said. Looking to emerging sources of income, the ceo said the company has a for-pay iPad app in development and is now in the process of building the pay wall it plans to implement at the Times’ Web site in 2011.
For all the talk of the digital future, Robinson couldn’t resist some old school newspaper warring when the subject of the call turned to the second-quarter launch of The Wall Street Journal’s Greater New York section (which reportedly was almost giving away ad pages in the launch phase). “We have not seen any impact in regard to advertising schedules and we have not seen any measurable impact in regard to circulation,” she said. “Anyone can look at the section and make their own judgment,” Robinson later added. Zing!
— Matthew Lynch
EXEC TECH: Maybe Diane von Furstenberg was scoping out the landscape when she hobnobbed recently with media and corporate titans (including her husband, Barry Diller) at Allen & Co.’s Sun Valley Conference. The CFDA is now planning to host a fashion and technology conference in January, with the hope to bring together its members with high-powered executives who could come from the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft and eBay. “I know these technology companies, and they all want to talk to the fashion people,” von Furstenberg said. Few details are available, but von Furstenberg said she envisions the conference to be a one- or two-day affair.
— Marc Karimzadeh
YSL PR SHUFFLE: PPR clearly doesn’t hold a grudge. Yves Saint Laurent is handing over its fashion public relations in the U.S. to PR Consulting, the firm led by Pierre Rougier and Sylvie Picquet Damesme, effective this month. The PR Consulting team will report to Siddhartha Shukla, YSL’s global communications director based in Paris. PR Consulting has served as strategic consultant to YSL since January 2010 but now will also handle all press samples. It will work in partnership with Victoria Gaccione, who was recently appointed communications director for the Americas for the brand. “Advertising, marketing, special events and VIP relations will continue to be organized and overseen by the in-house U.S. communications office,” the company said. PR Consulting lost a key account in May when Balenciaga, which like Yves Saint Laurent is owned by retail-to-luxury conglomerate PPR, said it was bringing responsibility for U.S. public relations in-house. — Joelle Diderich