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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Maureen Dowd, "Night at the Opera?": Or For Whom the Bell Tolls?

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Night at the Opera?" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/30/opinion/maureen-dowd-night-at-the-opera.html), Maureen Dowd tells us of the budgetary travails of the Metropolitan Opera and the angst of its general manager, Peter Gelb. Dowd concludes her opinion piece by observing:

"As the clock ticks down, I’m rooting for Valhalla, not Götterdämmerung."

I don't know anything about opera, but I wonder whether Dowd shouldn't be training her eye on her own employer, The New York Times, instead of the Metropolitan. Yesterday, The New York Times reported its operating results for the second quarter of 2014, which included a decrease in print advertising revenue of 6.6 percent compared with the corresponding period in 2013, and an increase in operating costs of 5.2 percent.

Missing the earnings expectations of analysts, The New York Times was one of the 10 biggest percentage decliners on New York Stock Exchange (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/nyse-stocks-posting-largest-percentage-174225999.html).

Regarding prospects for the third quarter of 2014, The New York Times stated (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/york-times-company-reports-2014-123000424.html):

"In the third quarter of 2014, total circulation revenues are expected to be flat compared with the third quarter of 2013.

Total advertising revenues in the third quarter of 2014 are expected to decrease in the mid-single digits compared with the third quarter of 2013.

Operating costs and adjusted operating costs are each expected to increase in the low- to mid-single digits in the third quarter of 2014 compared with the third quarter of 2013.

In addition, the Company expects the following on a pre-tax basis in 2014:

Results from joint ventures: loss of $1 to $3 million,

Depreciation and amortization: $75 to $80 million,

Interest expense, net: $53 to $57 million, and

Capital expenditures: $40 to $50 million."

These are indeed worrisome times for the Gray Lady, which is in desperate need of rejuvenation. Maybe, looking ahead, Obama can lend the Times some money. What a shame . . .

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