Tribune's August revenue slips

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CHICAGO -- Media conglomerate Tribune Co. said Thursday its August revenue fell 5.2% as classified ad sales slid on sharp real estate declines, reflecting a deep and continuing slump in the newspaper industry.

The company, whose properties include the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and 23 television stations, said consolidated revenue for the period ended Sept. 2 fell to $391 million from $413 million a year earlier.

Revenue from the publishing unit, consisting of Tribune's 11 daily newspapers, slipped 6.1% to $271 million, with ad revenue declining 7.2% to $210 million.

National ad sales rose 2.8% with increases in financial, telecom/wireless and media partially offset by declines in the resorts and auto categories.

Classified ad sales dropped 20.1%, as real estate tumbled 30.4% on significant drop-offs in Los Angeles, Chicago and Florida. Help wanted ad revenue slid 21.7% and automotive fell 7.1%.

Interactive sales were a bright spot, climbing 15% to $21 million.

Retail advertising sales edged up 0.6% as increases in hardware/home improvement stores, food and drug stores and home furnishings were partially offset by declines in department stores and amusements categories.

Broadcasting and entertainment revenue dropped 3% to $121 million, while television sales fell 4.6%.

Tribune is in the process of converting to a private company, to be owned by an employee stock ownership plan and controlled by real estate investor Sam Zell.
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