Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Subscribers rise as ad revenue drops at NY Times

Feb 02. 2017
(FILES) This file photo taken on April 28, 2016 shows the sign on the west side of the New York Times building at 620 Eighth Avenue in New York.  / AFP PHOTO
(FILES) This file photo taken on April 28, 2016 shows the sign on the west side of the New York Times building at 620 Eighth Avenue in New York. / AFP PHOTO
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By Agence France-Presse

NEW YORK - The New York Times said Thursday its subscriber base rose to more than three million as the newspaper reported a drop in earnings, hit by slumping advertising revenues.

The prestigious US daily reported fourth quarter profits fell 28 percent from a year ago to $37 million, while revenues dipped 1.1 percent to $440 million.

The good-news-bad-news report showed overall circulation revenues up five percent to $226 million, while ad revenues tumbled nearly 10 percent to $184 million.

Mark Thompson, president and chief executive officer of the New York Times Company, hailed "a significant milestone" of hitting three million paid subscribers, including print and digital.

That offers some room for optimism as the newspaper seeks to shift further to digital and get more revenue from subscribers and online advertising.

"The continued excellence of our journalism and our consumer-first focus led to incredible strength in our circulation business, both in the fourth quarter and for the full year," Thompson said in a statement.

He noted that the daily added 276,000 new digital news subscriptions, "the single best quarter since 2011, the year the pay model launched."

"With the rate of growth accelerating over the past year, we believe that there is further opportunity to significantly extend our subscription reach, both in the US and around the world," he added.

Revenue from digital advertising rose 11 percent in the quarter, but that was not enough to offset a 20 percent drop in print ad revenue. Digital accounted for 41.9 percent of total ad revenue.

The Times last month unveiled a new strategic plan that will likely reduce its newsroom staff of around 1,300, while making investments in key areas including "visual journalism" and boosting coverage of President Donald Trump's administration.

The Times has moved to get more readers globally with a Spanish-language edition and an expanded office in Australia.

Separately, the Times announced it will create a daily edition for the Snapchat Discover platform.

"We're seeing enormous interest on the part of younger audiences for the sort of smart, visual digital journalism for which the Times has become known," said Times executive vice president Kinsey Wilson.

"And Snapchat is an ideal place to reach that audience. At the end of the day, our goal is to make sure our journalism reaches the widest possible audience."

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