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Jul 28, 2008

Snapshot of the Economy and Publishing

Weighing Recession Against Growth

House prices are tumbling, the job market is faltering, and financial markets are struggling -- but the U.S. economy is expanding. Continued growth raises the prospect that this could be the first U.S. recession without a decline in economic output...

A. H. Belo Swings to Loss

A. H. Belo said it plans reduce costs by $50 million and cut its work force by 14% after swinging to a second-quarter loss. The newspaper publisher's advertising revenue fell 21% for the quarter...

Strong Sales Help Pearson Narrow Loss

Publisher Pearson said it narrowed its net loss in the first half, as sales rose on the strong performance of its education and FT Group divisions...

Disney's Earnings Test Economic Toll

Disney's financial performance keeps defying predictions for a slide along with U.S. consumer spending. When the entertainment conglomerate reports its earnings, investors will find out if any cracks have started to develop...

John Wintherow on integration, declining print sales and his weekly chats with Rupert Murdoch

The Guardian recently spoke with John Wintherow. In his first interview in nine years, the Sunday Times editor discusses the "tactile" joy of the Sunday paper, reading every word of the paper (and other nostalgia) and impersonates the competition. ..

UK: 95m visitors to national newspaper sites

According to a new report from the Newspaper Marketing Agency, the newspaper websites of six of the UK's largest newspaper groups attracted nearly 95 million visitors in June.

The report, which aggregated traffic statistics for Newspaper Marketing Agency member papers, tracked data from Independent News & MediaMirror Group NewspapersNews International,Telegraph Media Group and Guardian News & Media.

The 94.8 million unique visitors spent more than 715 million minutes on these newspaper websites in June. The data also revealed that 35.5 million of total readers were based in the UK.

"Google is the top referrer of traffic to UK national newspaper websites," noted the Guardian. "Driving almost 33 million unique users, while direct traffic - people inputting a newspaper web address or using a favourites link - is the second biggest, accounting for 22 million visitors."

Earnings: FT Profit Up; Paying Subs Flat; Confident On Ad Outlook

FT Group profit rose 21 percent to £84 million ($167 million) on 11 percent better revenue of £374 million ($743 million) in the first half of the year, supposedly on digital and subscription growth. The group also comprises the Interactive Data unit, but the news publishing wing grew more - sales up 13 percent to £188 million ($373 million), profit up 26 percent to £30 million ($59 million).

Advertising revenue was up only two percent and that remains "remain difficult to predict". But FT's strategy is clear - it's increased its digital revenue composition from 28 percent of the whole in 2000 to 63 percent in 2007, and slimmed its reliance on advertising from 30 percent to 52 percent of sales in the same period. Despite "tough macroeconomic conditions", FT forecasts profits even if ad sales are flat...

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