John Ransom

The common stock of the New York Times (NYSE: NYT) plunged from $10.87 last week to a close of $8.19 on Friday after the liberal mouthpiece announced that its 3rd quarter net income dropped 85 percent.

While analysts are blaming soft advertising revenues, I think something more ominous is happening at America’s national, bleeding-heart newspaper.

For sure, advertising revenues are dropping nationally as economic conditions have deteriorated over the last two quarters.

Newspapers in general are struggling still as advertisers turn more money over to digital. Unlike newspaper display ads, which are just dead print on a page, digital ads can measured. Advertisers like that, a lot. 

But still advertising revenues for the NYT are plunging in industries where we have been told by no less an authority than –gasp!- the New York Times: “Hurray! The recovery is finally on its way!”

If the economy is improving- as the publisher would have us believe- the rest of the paper’s operations didn’t get that memo.      

“[T]he lack of business confidence is growing in many, many segments, financial being one of them,” said the Times’ Chief Advertising Officer Denise Warren, according to “Entertainment was down due to a lack of major releases in the quarter. Department stores had weak retail sales performance, so that impacted us. And then real estate is down, mostly due to the lack of new development in the New York market.”

Retail, Finance and Real Estate are experiencing lack of “business confidence,” as are “many, many segments” say the business folks behind the Times.  

You wouldn’t know it if you read the pages of the Times, however. On the editorial side- as opposed to the advertising folks who have to pay the salaries for the editorial folks- they think things are improving in our economy.

John Ransom

John Ransom’s writings on politics and finance have appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Colorado Statesman, Pajamas Media and Registered Rep Magazine amongst others. Until 9/11, Ransom worked primarily in finance as an investment executive for NYSE member firm Raymond James and Associates, JW Charles and as a new business development executive at Mutual Service Corporation. He lives in San Diego. You can follow him on twitter @bamransom.

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