However, MediaNews Group's third-quarter earnings report released yesterday throws some cold water on that assumption. "Revenues from our Internet operations remained relatively flat," the report says on page 20. "Within the classified advertising category, we had decreases across all categories including real estate, automotive and employment."
Other chains are also reporting a slow down in the growth of internet revenues, though nobody else is saying it has gone flat. The trade publication MediaPost (subscription required) reports the following third-quarter growth figures:
- • Gannett (excluding USA Today): 7.5% (compared with 21 percent in the third quarter of 2006)
• Tribune: 9 percent (compared with 28 percent a year earlier)
• McClatchy: 1.4 percent (compared with 16.3 percent)
• Dow Jones: 8 percent (compared with 13 percent)
• E.W. Scripps: 19 percent (compared with 40 percent)
However, it was reported earlier this month that MediaNews, Hearst and other partners in the Yahoo project said that they are considering a separate national online sales effort, which suggests the Yahoo project may be on the rocks or that the newspaper partners are hedging their bets in case Yahoo comes up short.