Ad Recovery Fails To Boost McClatchy; Online Revs Barely Rise

An uneven economic recovery, coupled with continued tough times in its California and Florida markets, prevented The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI) from realizing the gains of the advertising recovery that other media companies have seen. And above all else, as the New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) demonstrated this morning, and Gannett (NYSE: GCI) showed last week, print advertising’s declines are indeed slowing, but they also remain weak and a continued drag on revenues.

In a statement, Gary Pruitt, McClatchy’s chairman and CEO, pointed to a slowdown last month in national and in retail spending, as print ads fell 8 percent. Online ad revenue was up a meager 1.6 percent to $47.5 million, offered no real off-set to the print declines. Meanwhile, circulation dollars, which have become increasingly crucial as advertising has dried up for print ads, decreased 4 percent to $66.4 million.

On a slightly more positive note, classified ads’ severe chill appears to be thawing. In particular, job ads, more than half of which is now digital in the form of Careerbuilder, progressed nicely throughout the quarter: up 0.1 percent in July, up 0.2 percent in August and up 5.6 percent in September.

The halving of McClatchy’s profits this time out still suggest that all the cost-cutting its done and is continuing to do, may not have the benefits they did last year. The company has cut over 4,100 jobs in the past two years, and BizJournal noted that layoffs have continued in recent weeks at The Miami Herald, Charlotte Observer, The Kansas City Star and at the company’s hometime paper, The Sacramento Bee.