Online Ad Revenues Up 32 Percent at New York Times Co.

Advertising revenue for The New York Times’ online unit increased 32.2 percent for December 2004 compared with December 2003, driven by strong growth in display advertising and all classified advertising categories.

That robust online performance contrasts with the almost flat advertising revenue growth company-wide. Total advertising revenues across all of the Times’ media holdings increased 2.2 percent to $187.2 million in December. For the year, the Times reported total advertising revenues up 3.5 percent with $2.19 billion.

The company, which includes The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, 16 other newspapers, and over 40 separate Web sites, predicts a continued strong online performance in 2005 as it completes a redesign of various sections of the Web site.

“We have a number of different initiatives we are pursuing, including the redesign of our site, which will introduce new advertising opportunities,” said Janet Robinson, president and chief executive of The New York Times Company. “Right now, growing ad revenues is really what’s critical to us.”

The Times has already completed a redesign of its Sunday magazine, real estate, and auto online sections. In 2005, it plans to unveil redesigns for its main news, sports, and business sections as well.

Despite strong double-digit growth in online classifieds, certain advertising categories such as technology, financial, insurance, and B2B, remained soft, Robinson said.

Dismissing rumors that have swirled about The Times adopting a paid subscription model for its site, executives said it will continue with its free access model, but will continue to review the question on an annual basis.

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