New York Times Co. Reports Loss as Its Digital Subscriber Base Grows

New York Times Co. Reports Loss as Its Digital Subscriber Base Grows

The New York Times Company reported a $14 million net loss for the first quarter of 2016 as it continued to grapple with how to offset falling revenue in print advertising. Digital subscriptions remained a bright spot for the company, showing robust growth.

In its earnings release on Tuesday, the company said it added 67,000 net digital-only subscriptions in the quarter, the most in a quarter since the end of 2012. The Times now has roughly 1.2 million digital-only subscriptions for its news products. Including its crossword product subscriptions, the company counts close to 1.4 million digital-only subscriptions.

“The rate at which we are adding digital subscriptions continues to accelerate,” Mark Thompson, the company’s chief executive, said in the 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 net loss for the quarter was roughly the same as in the first quarter of 2015. Total revenue fell about 1 percent, to $380 million, from $384 million in the first quarter of 2015.

Circulation revenue increased roughly 2 percent, to $218 million, as growth in digital subscription revenue and an increase in home-delivery prices offset a decline in print copies sold. Revenue from digital-only subscriptions increased about 14 percent, to $54 million, from $47 million in the first quarter of 2015.

Advertising revenue remained a trouble spot, falling about 7 percent, to $140 million. Print advertising revenue dropped 9 percent, and digital advertising revenue fell about 1 percent, to $42 million, a figure that represents about a third of the company’s total ad revenue.

“We remain confident in our ability to grow our digital advertising revenue in the long term, and we are continuing to invest in ad product innovation,” Mr. Thompson said, adding that the company intended to “keep a sharp focus on our cost base.”

The Times announced last week that it was planning to close its editing and prepress print production operations in Paris, which would result in the elimination or relocation of up to 70 jobs. It also said last month that it would invest more than $50 million over the next three years in an ambitious international digital expansion plan.

Adjusted operating profit, the company’s preferred method for assessing performance, decreased to $52 million in the first quarter, from $59 million in the year-ago period.

The company took a $41 million loss related to the announced closing of a paper mill in Maine.


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