Archive for August 11th, 2009

McClatchy extends wage freeze

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

McClatchy newspapers will extend a wage freeze instituted last year which, on top of pay cuts and furloughs instituted this year, ensures that its employees’ earning power continues to erode.

“We plan to extend the current wage freeze for all employees (including corporate) at least through December of this year, with the hope of restoring merit increases sometime in 2010, as business conditions warrant,” Publisher Orage Quarles III of  The News & Observer tells his employees in an e-mail sent today. “As we finalize budget plans this fall, each McClatchy newspaper will determine when the freeze will end.”

“We remain committed to lifting the salary freeze as soon as financial conditions allow,” he adds, after opening the note by saying that despite more than doubling its profits in the second quarter, the company “continue(s) to experience a challenging revenue environment and must remain disciplined in our cost control efforts.”

Major city papers can be profitable

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Here’s a “no kidding” story from The New York Times:  The Seattle Times, now the only newspaper in town and privately owned, after cutting hundreds of positions,  is turning a profit.

“On a month-to-month basis, we are starting to operate in the black,” Frank A. Blethen, the publisher and chief executive of The Seattle Times Company, told The NYT. The Times is one of the last family-run papers in the country, controlled since 1896 by the Blethens. They own 50.5 percent of the company (the McClatchy Company owns the rest).

The Times had a joint operating agreement with The Seattle Post Intelligencer, which closed in March. The Hearst Corporation kept the P-I’s Web site alive as a news operation with a small staff at SeattlePI.com.

The Seattle paper has cut more than 200 newsroom positions and raised its prices in March, increasing circulation revenue. With most P-I readers on board, Times executives say they have been able to maintain the ad rates they charged for space in both papers. The volume and revenue were down sharply, but Blethen said the decline was consistent with what had happened across the industry.

Not advertising with you twits

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Twitter earns a big thumbs down from advertisers, Media Life magazine said Monday.

More than half of the media planners and buyers who responded to a recent Media Life survey on new media advertising and the areas of promising growth said Twitter holds little promise.

Only a quarter saw any promise in the site, which allows users to update their daily doings in very brief statements, the magazine says.

On the other hand, more than half of planners and buyers see advertising on social media emerging at some point. The new media that continues to be seen as the most promising is search advertising, with video not far behind.

Scripps up in 2Q, warmed by glow of TV

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

E.W. Scripps Co. shows a profit in its second quarter earnings reports and says TV ad revenue is doing better, according to Business Courier of Cincinnati.

“In the near term, we are seeing some slight improvement in the flow of advertising in our markets, particularly at the television stations, which have increased their revenue projections – albeit very modestly – during each of the past seven weeks,” said Rich Boehne, president and CEO.

Like other media companies, Scripps profited by cutting jobs and salaries and other expenses.

Scripps’ television station segment saw second-quarter revenues fall 24 percent while the newspaper segment fell 22 percent and licensing and other media also fell 22 percent.

The media company posted second-quarter net income of $2.3 million, or 4 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $531.2 million, or $9.78 per share, in the year-ago quarter. Operating revenues were $193.9 million, versus $250.9 million. Analysts, on average, had expected a net loss of 11 cents per share, and revenues of $203.2 million.

Scripps, based in Cincinnati, operates daily and community newspapers in 14 markets, including the Daily Camera (Boulder, Co.) and Knoxville News Sentinel, and 10 broadcast TV stations. It also operates Scripps Howard News Service and United Media.

Here’s the earnings call transcript.