Earnings: NYTCO Execs Focus On Mobile, Online

From the earnings call for NYTCO (NYSE: NYT): Janet Robinson, CEO and president, focused on new media initiatives. She noted that the new mobile site traffic has more than tripled and the company plans to roll out new features over the next few months: “In the digital arena, we continue to build out our travel, entertainment and real estate verticals. At the same time, we have launched our small business section at NYT.com and introduced new email products for movies, books and real estate. We’ve also added several new areas of original web content, including Bits, a new technology blog written by Times’ journalist Saul Hansell.”
— The second strategic focus is centered on building what Robinson called “an innovation capability to anticipate consumer preferences and creates ways to satisfy them. Mobility is at the heart of the group’s activities.” The Times’ mobile website has seen page views more than triple in Q2. Robinson: “We expect growth to continue next quarter, when research and development rolls out a mobile messaging platform for the company. All of our operating units are planning to launch new mobile products built off this new competency.” The company is also working on developing an idea for a mobile RSS and RFID mashup that grew out of the Yahoo/BBC Hack Day competition and will be released next year.
— Robinson also mentioned acquisitions that have a “strategic rationale” like ConsumerSearch.com, which was folded into About.com, can also be seen as a preview of what’s to come. “ConsumerSearch is a profitable, high-margin business, that greatly expands About’s reach in numerous advertising categories and greatly enhances its online content.”
— Robinson: About.com continues to develop its key verticals. “A good example is what it has done in health, where it has become a major player. In June, About’s Health channel, which is the number two site in that category behind WebMD, saw traffic grow 60 percent and page views climb 144 percent… The development of content verticals across the entire company has helped the NYTCO become the 11th most visited parent company on the web in the U.S. with 42.9 million uniques in June, up 14 percent from June 2006. In total, our digital businesses generated $80.9 million in revenues during the quarter.”
— During the Q&A, CFO Jim Follo answered a question about margins for the online segment: “The acquisition of ConsumerSearch did not have much of an impact on margins during the quarter. Some of the margin contraction we saw was related to investments in some ventures.” Martin Nisenholtz, SVP-Digital Operations, added that the company has experienced improvements on the CPC side and growth in volume as display has remained strong through the year. As for whether the NYTCO has received increased job postings as a result of its recent co-branding of its Boston and New York recruitment sites with Monster.com, it’s a little too early to tell. Nisenholtz: “We’re only three weeks in, but we have seen some improvement in Boston. But overall, we haven’t seen new significant job postings. Not at this point.”
— The competition among telecoms will likely push up technology ad spend. Also health care and banking are showing more activity and thus, more opportunity for an ad rebound but Robinson said . “we’re still under pressure on the overall classified side.” Follo: The luxury ad segment, including fashion and jewelry and travel, is growing. Spending by movie studios and some packaged goods marketers will likely be up for July. “We’re seeing low double-digit growth in many of those categories.”