The New York Times Ups Digital Subscribers, Still Reports $14 Million Net Loss

New York Times

The New York Times saw its biggest single quarter growth in subscriber numbers since Q4 2012.

In its financial press release for Q1 2016, American media company, The New York Times Co., revealed growth in its digital-only subscribers, which increased by 67,000, as it continues to seek additional revenue after seeing a decrease in both print and digital advertising revenue.

According to the results posted on Tuesday, digital subscription in the Times, which allows subscribers unlimited online access to the newspaper – including articles published since 1851, had its number of subscribers increase to 1.36 million. This produced a 14 per cent increase in revenue for the company, from $47 million in Q1 2015, to $54 million.

Even with the increase in digital-only subscription revenue, the company still suffered a net loss of $14 million. The company’s chief executive, Mark Thompson, maintained in the press release that the quarter was still very strong for the digital subscription business. “The rate at which we are adding subscriptions is continuing to accelerate,”Thompson declared in his statement. “We have continued to prioritize deepening the level of engagement of our readers with Times content, and this effort, along with the application of new consumer marketing tactics, has led to an increase in new subscribers and improved retention of existing ones.”

The media company’s net loss for the quarter was more or less identical to that of the net loss of the previous year, 2015’s Q1. Overall revenue dropped from $384 million in last year’s Q1 to $380 million in this year’s period. Digital-only subscription revenue hiked 14 per cent from $47 million in the first quarter of 2015 to $54 million. Revenue from circulation approximately grew to $218 million, a 2 per cent growth, as both digital-only subscription and the price hike for home-delivery try to set off losses from the decline in print revenue.

Advertising revenues continue to decline, falling to $140 million, a 7 per cent decrease, with revenues dropping from both digital and print advertising by 1 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively, for a total of $42 million, which makes up a third of the company’s total ad revenue.

With the decline in overall revenue, Times’ Thompson said the financial update was still in-line with their successful execution of digital transformation strategy. He went on to say that the company was only pivoting from traditional digital advertising towards branded content and marketing services, video and more seamlessly integrated ad formats on both mobile and desktop in order to essentially deliver growth in the second half of 2016. The market seemed unconvinced with the translation however, with the company’s shares dropping by 4.3 percent during afternoon trading.

The publishing company announced not long ago that it would invest more than $50 million to make the newspaper cater to not just its US audience but to audiences all over the world, though it will be closing its editing and pre-press print production operations in Paris, causing more or less 70 jobs to be phased out or replaced. The company has been rumored as well to be laying off hundreds of employees, exacerbating anxiety among journalists.

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