Good news for Projo as revenue climbs 3% in first quarter

Projo_ad_sales_1Q_2014By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Sunshine is finally breaking through the clouds at The Providence Journal.

The Journal’s total revenue was up nearly 3% between Jan. 1 and March 31 compared with the same period in 2013, rising to $21.2 million, parent company A.H. Belo disclosed Wednesday in an SEC filing.

If the trend continues for the rest of the year, it will mark the first time The Journal’s revenue has increased on an annual basis since at least 2005. The newspaper has continued to earn a profit even as revenue plunged 43% over the last eight years.

The Journal was buoyed in the first quarter by a 19% jump in its revenue from the printing and distribution of other newspapers and magazines, which brought in $3.7 million. Circulation revenue also rose 5% to $8.3 million, which the company attributed to a double-digit increase in rates for home delivery.

The paper’s advertising revenue continued to decline, falling 4% compared with last year to $9.1 million, as pre-print and classified ads declined the most. Digital advertising, however, inched up 1% to $1.3 million.

The positive news comes as A.H. Belo continues an effort to sell the paper that was made public in December. A top executive there said Tuesday the sale process is now at the midway point and “going very well.”

Howard Sutton, The Journal’s longtime publisher, and Karen Bordeleau, the paper’s executive editor, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The Journal’s average weekday circulation fell from 83,733 to 76,447 during the six-month period ended Sept. 30, according to the most recent report by the Alliance for Audited Media. The paper’s Monday-to-Friday circulation has dropped 47% over the last six years as Rhode Island’s economy struggled.

Ted Nesi ( tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi

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