NYT Web Traffic Up, Ad Revenue Down

In what can be taken as another clear sign that online advertising is not immune to the slumping economy, traffic for The New York Times Web properties continued to climb in November, while advertising revenue slipped.

Internet advertising revenues for the Times collection of Web sites (NYTimes.com, About.com, Boston.com, etc.) dipped 3.8 percent last month. That decline represents a marked difference from earlier in the year, as overall online ad revenue for the Times properties has increased by 11.6 percent year to date.

The company’s About Group (About.com, ConsumerSearch.com, UCompareHealthCare.com and Caloriecount.about.com) exhibited similar trends: a 3.5 percent drop in ad revenue in November, yet overall the group’s ad revenue is up a healthy 12.9 percent year to date.

Meanwhile, audiences continue to flock to the Times sites, particularly NYTimes.com. According to Nielsen Online, The New York Times Company ranked 10th among all Web players with 55.0 million unique users in November, up nearly 11 percent versus the 49.6 million visitors recorded in November of last year.  NYTimes.com saw its traffic grow from 18.9 million to 20.9 million over the same period of time.

Thus it seems apparent that as the economic recession deepens, traffic growth will not be enough to off set ad declines. Times executives attributed November’s declines to a modest overall display ad market and weakness in recruitment and real estate advertising.