Bright Spots for The New York Times Co.

In the current issue of Local Media Journal, we break down the Q4 earnings announcements of major U.S. newspaper publishers. You probably know the story; circulation and revenues are in decline, while online assets continue to show growth.

To add to this, yesterday The New York Times Co. announced some numbers for January that showed a 3.4 percent ad revenue increase for About.com (which it purchased last year) while the company’s overall revenues slipped 3.2 percent.

From Paid Content:

–"Outstanding growth" in cost-per-click advertising drove About.com’s growth to $7.1 million in ad revenues; the unit’s ad revenues increased 124 percent compared to january ’05, when it was still owned by Primedia. (This January included four more reporting days than the previous year.) About.com also reported display growth.

— Online ad revenue was up 22 percent across the News Media Groups with "strong growth" in display and classified advertising.

— Despite the strength of Craigslist and other classified competitors, real-estate classified rose 15.3 percent.

— TimesSelect: The Times’ groundbreaking premium service continues to grow. As of Jan. 31, TimesSelect had approximately 410,000 subscribers — about 62 percent get the service as part of their print subscription and about 38 percent are online only.

The New York Times also just struck a deal with fast moving Internet video start-up Brightcove (the company offers large and small video producers a platform to distribute their content and generate ad or sales revenues). Under the multiyear arrangement, Brightcove will distribute and syndicate broadband video across NYtimes properties. This gives Brightcove more ad inventory (and valuable inventory it seems) in its network, and it gives the Times a branded platform for distributing video on its sites — something that is becoming very high in demand in online news and that The Times certainly couldn’t have done on its own.

We expect to see more deals between advertiser and publisher facing video networks, and traditional media companies that wish to differentiate themselves (or stay competitive) with video capability.

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