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When The New York Times Company released its July results today, one could be forgiven for shrugging when spotting the 17.9% decline in ad revenue at its news media group. It's been that kind of cycle -- on top of a general rise in challenges to print newspapers.
But the media group's internet ad revenue turns out to be a real shock: It grew less than 1% as, in the words of the company, "more moderate growth in display advertising was partially offset by continued weakness in online recruitment advertising."\n\nGrowth had been stellar\nThat's the big bad economy coming to undermine traditional media's best hope for the future. Compare that 0.9% increase in July with a bumper 21.5% increase in internet ad revenue for June and jumps of 14.2% in May, 25.6% in April, 14.8% in March, 14.4% in February and 8.6% in January.
With its anemic digital showing for July, The Times Co. suddenly looks at risk to join some other major newspaper players in wondering where the golden goose has gone. As Ad Age reported earlier this month, Tribune Co., Lee Enterprises and E.W. Scripps all reported declines in web advertising during the most recent quarter. "The decline in print has been so pervasive that it's taking the online stuff with it," analyst Ed Atorino said at the time. "This is the worst market we've seen."