New York Times Co. Reports Rising Digital Profit as Print Advertising Falls

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Over all, the company reported total revenue of $399 million for the quarter, up 5 percent compared with the first quarter of 2016. Its net income was about $13 million, compared with a net loss of roughly $14 million in the same period a year ago.

In a statement, Mark Thompson, the chief executive of The Times, called the growth in digital advertising revenue “a vindication” of the company’s decision to focus on mobile, branded content and other marketing opportunities, including virtual reality and podcasts.

Still, these are difficult times for all print publishers. Dean Baquet, the executive editor, has repeatedly said the newsroom will have to be smaller, and employees are anxiously awaiting staff reductions that have been looming for months. The company is also in the midst of consolidating its staff onto fewer floors at its Midtown Manhattan headquarters, and signs of construction around the building have heightened the sense of instability.

Mr. Thompson did not address buyouts or layoffs in the earnings release, saying only, “We continue to keep a close eye on costs across the business and remain committed to aggressively managing profitability.”

Operating costs grew about 5 percent in the quarter, to $367 million, from $352 million in the first quarter last year. Adjusted operating costs increased to $346 million, from $328 million, which the company attributed to higher marketing costs and costs from acquired companies. The company introduced a “The Truth Is Hard” brand campaign this quarter, which included a commercial during the broadcast of the Academy Awards.

Operating profit rose to $29 million in the quarter, from $28 million the previous year. Adjusted operating profit increased slightly to $53 million, from $52 million in the first quarter last year.

There were other positive signs for the company. Digital advertising revenue represented 38 percent of the company’s total advertising revenue, compared with 30 percent in the first quarter last year. Circulation revenue from digital-only news subscriptions increased 40 percent, to $73 million.

The company, however, expects second-quarter growth in the number of digital-only news subscriptions to slow compared with the previous two quarters as the effects of the so-called Trump bump — subscriptions spurred by coverage of President Trump, and his attacks on the paper — begin to wear off.

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Source: New York Times

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