New York Times ad sales down 28.4%

Ad sales at the New York Times Company dropped 28.4% for the first quarter of 2009, an accelerated decline as the recession continues to bite.

The company reported an operating loss of $61.6 million for the quarter, vs a profit of $6.2 million for the same quarter in 2008. Excluding depreciation, amortization, severance and special items, first-quarter 2009 operating profit was $16.5 million compared with $77.7 million in the first quarter of 2008.

Online offered no help to the company, with reporting a decrease in revenue of 4.7% off a 4.1% drop in advertising. Total internet revenues dropped 5.6%, with the newspaper web sites reporting a 8% drop in advertising.

The only bright spot was a decrease in operating costs of 9.5%, not enough to offset the decline in revenue, but heading in the right direction.

Full release here.