Tronc Inc., parent company of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, reported a first-quarter loss last week marked by declines in advertising revenue in both print and online segments.

Total revenue dropped to $366 million for the quarter ended March 26 – an 8 percent decline from the $398 million it generated in the year-earlier quarter. Total advertising revenue dropped 13 percent over the same period, with the digital ad segment dropping 4.6 percent.

Tronc’s revenue from print operations in the quarter fell 9.2 percent from the prior year to $312 million, while print advertising revenue fell 15.6 percent. Its digital division saw revenue drop to $55 million for the quarter, a year-to-year decrease of 3.2 percent.

On the positive side, tronc’s digital-only subscribers grew to 180,000, an increase of 77 percent from the prior year. Revenue from digital-only subscriptions and content syndication grew 3.1 percent.

By comparison, The New York Times Co. reported last week that its quarterly revenue rose to $399 million, a 5 percent year-to-year gain, due in large part to a 19 percent increase in digital ad revenue to $50 million. Its net income was about $13 million, compared with a net loss of roughly $14 million a year ago. The paper has 2.2 million digital-only subscriptions.

– Diane Haithman

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