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Maariv Holdings won a second going-concern warning from its auditors last week, which contradicted recent reports in the press that sweeping cutbacks at Maariv, the merger between the NRG Web site and its parent company, and cutbacks in the newspaper's paper consumption would improve its results. It is true that Maariv, which is controlled by Ofer Nimrodi, managed to shave back costs, but not enough to compensate for shrinking income from advertisers.

Maariv has reduced its number of pages, while Yisrael Hayom, the free newspaper owned by Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson, has expanded to 48 pages a day, driven by advertisers.

The media monitoring company Ifat says that in May, Yisrael Hayom sold 16,000 inches of ads, an increase compared with the end of 2007. Also, it's getting a better quality of advertisers compared with last year: bigger companies, specifically, while at its start Yisrael Hayom featured mainly ads by nonprofits, education institutions and small firms.

Ifat says that advertising in Maariv has held steady this year, but when seen against 2007, there's been a considerable drop. In May Maariv sold 60,000 inches, while in March 2007 it sold 104,000 inches, says Ifat. A source at Maariv says that 150 people, or 10% of the paper's workforce, have been dismissed in the last six months, from all sections Another 100 face the ax, says the source.