The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) Q1 2016 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
May 03, 2016 • 11:00 am ET
(Operator Instructions) Doug Arthur, Huber Research Partners.
Two questions. I guess, Jim, in terms of your second-quarter advertising guide, I mean January was essentially flat, February down 1% -- I'm sorry, March down 1%, February was a real debacle. Are you expecting something similar to that in Q2? Or how is that setting up month-to-month, at this point? I know your visibility is limited. And then second, Meredith, on the digital side, I'm a little surprised on the flat guidance for Q2, to the extent that you have made the comment that project work can move the number quite a bit, and that was soft in the first quarter. So are you expecting a repeat of that in Q2? I'm surprised there's not more upside. Thanks.
Meredith Kopit Levien
Yeah. I'm -- Jim, do you want me to go first?
I'll take the guidance. I mean the guidance is based upon the visibility we have. I think that April is off to a bit of a slow start. That's embedded in our view of the outlook. I mean if we think -- we think the May and June numbers will likely be better than April. So that's the best visibility we have. It continues to be a bit of a choppy market, particularly on the print side.
And it's worth saying, Doug, I mean that -- I've said on calls before that at the moment, our guide to month B, looking at month A and expecting to be sure that month B is going to follow month A, is not true. And you'll note we adjusted our guidance fairly soon after the last earnings call, based on a dramatic switch, which is now reflected in the numbers between February and January, which was followed by a significant bounce-back in March. So I think the truth is, this is a pretty volatile market. And the main caution is to say that we -- not only do we have limited visibility, but the actual needle is moving all over the dial.
Meredith Kopit Levien
Yeah, I'll say a couple of things about it, Doug. The first one, our digital comp for advertising in Q2 was actually our hardest comp of the year. We grew, I think, 14%, 14% and change, last year in digital advertising in Q2. And I will say, just to your very specific question, I think we are operating in a digital ad business that is broadly in transition, and I think we are pretty well positioned with our strategy, and we are confident about it. And we're growing mobile, particularly smartphones, very quickly.
We are very focused on scaling the branded content business, and we have good visibility into the year-long pipeline for that and are optimistic about it. We are scaling the programmatic business, which I think we will continue to improve. And we are rounding out our marketing services, and we are absolutely expecting growth in the back half of the year.
So we've got pretty good visibility now into four things that