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The Gray Lady's Bones Are Showing

David Lee Smith
September 14, 2007

This is almost like watching a slow starvation. New York Times' (NYSE: NYT  ) advertising revenue, already on a steady slide for years, fell another 3.2% in August.

The bad news is nothing new. Let's glance through the negatives, shall we?

  • The News Media Group -- the newspapers -- saw revenue drop by 4.6% in a single month.
  • All-important classified revenue plummeted 20% in the month, as weakness in real estate, help-wanted, and automobile ads took its toll.
  • The hardest-hit entities were the New England Media Group, where ad revenue fell by 9% and the Regional Media Group, whose ad sales dropped by 11.9%. The New York Times Media Group was essentially flat, with a 0.2% increase.

There were still a few bright spots:

  • Internet ad revenue grew by 28.2%.
  • checked in with ad sales up 27.4%.

But my Foolish friends know that, while the latter two percentages are impressive, the absolute amounts involved are dwarfed by those in the sinking traditional newspaper operations.

Times joins other publishers such as Gannett (NYSE: GCI