It has been a busy week for followers of media stocks, with nearly all of the big names unveiling their latest quarterly snapshots. Today, the stage was set for Knight Ridder
Like Dow Jones
Knight-Ridder, again like Dow Jones, also lacks a portfolio of television stations or cable networks to fall back on whenever print advertising is stuck in the doldrums. Rival E.W. Scripps
The giant career website maintains more than 600,000 job openings and has built a database of 10 million resumes. During the quarter, revenues from the network spiked 88% to $107.1 million, with a 34% jump in the number of unique visitors. Overall revenues from the company's online operations surged 52.8%. Its recent investment in Palo Alto Daily News Group, a collection of free papers distributed in Southern California, is also attracting advertising dollars, with reported revenue growth in the mid-30% range.
Knight Ridder's operating margins contracted slightly during the quarter and stand near the lower end of the spectrum in the industry. The company does own a stake in several newsprint mills, though, which should help alleviate rising costs (newsprint prices rose another 8.1% in the quarter).
Today's results mark the best first quarter for advertising revenue at Knight Ridder since 2000. If the trend continues, then the company -- which trades at a discount to most of its competitors -- may again deliver returns in the black for shareholders.
Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter owns none of the companies mentioned.