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Digital revenues dive at the New York Times

NEW YORK - The New York Times Company has reported a 12.7% fall in online advertising revenues in December and 3.5% for the fourth quarter.

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The fall in online advertising is across the New York Times Company's digital business, which includes the NYTimes.com, About.com and Boston.com.

Total internet revenues decreased 11.4% and internet advertising revenues decreased 12.7% in December. The company said that internet revenues accounted for 11.7% of total revenues in December versus 12% in December 2007.

In the fourth quarter internet revenues fell by 2.9% and internet ad revenues by 3.5% as declines in the online classified market offset modest growth in display advertising. Overall, internet businesses accounted for 12% of total revenues in the fourth quarter versus 11% in 2007.

Advertising revenues at the About Group, which include About.com, ConsumerSearch.com, UCompareHealthCare.com and Caloriecount.about.com, fell 13.2% in December because of declines in display and cost-per-click market. For the 2008 full year, advertising revenues at the About Group increased 10.4% compared with 2007.

Across the entire internet business in 2008, online revenues rose by 6.5% and internet ad revenues increased 9.3% compared with 2007. In total, internet businesses accounted for 11.9% of total revenues in 2008 versus 10.3% in 2007.

The New York Times Company had the 12th largest presence on the web having racked up 50.8m unique visitors in the US in December 2008, according to Nielsen Online. That figure represents a rise of about 4% from 48.7m unique visitors in December 2007.

Nielsen Online also said that NYTimes.com had 18.2m unique visitors in December up 1m on last year helping it maintain its position as the number one newspaper site in the US.

Internet advertising revenues included in the News Media Group decreased 12.3% in December because of weakness in both display and online classified advertising.

Print advertising revenues for The New York Times Media Group fell 14.1%.

The New York Times Company, which last week confirmed that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim will lend it $250m (£170m) to refinance its debt, also said it had hired Goldman Sachs to help it sell its stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball club.

The media firm owns a 17.75% stake in New England Sports Ventures, which owns the Red Sox and its Fenway Park ground.

Read Gordon's Republic blog post - Could the New York Times go under?

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