Trump bump? New York Times shares leap as publisher reports record subscriber growth

 
William Turvill
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The New York Times gained 308,000 net digital news subscriptions in the first quarter (Source: Getty)

Shares at the publisher of the New York Times leapt 10 per cent on Wednesday after the US company reported its best-ever quarter for subscriber growth.

The figures

The New York Times Company said its operating profit for the first quarter was $29m (£22.5m), up from $27.9m in the same period last year.

Diluted earnings per share came in at $0.08 for the period, up from a loss of $0.05 in the same period last year.

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Total revenues for the period were up 5.1 per cent year-on-year to $398.8m. Circulation revenues were up 11.2 per cent and advertising revenues were down 6.9 per cent.

The company’s shares leapt 10 per cent to $15.73 on the results.

Why it’s interesting

The firm said its performance was “principally driven by very strong digital revenues”.

The company’s president and chief executive, Mark Thompson, revealed it had added “an astonishing 308,000 net digital news subscriptions, making [the first quarter] the single best quarter for subscriber growth in our history”.

It may be no coincidence that this period came after the election of President Donald Trump, who has been highly critical of the publication, describing it as “failing”.

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What the company said

Thompson said:

These results show the current strength and future potential of our digital strategy not just to reach a large audience, but also to deliver substantial revenue. We added an astonishing 308,000 net digital news subscriptions, making Q1 the single best quarter for subscriber growth in our history.

Digital advertising revenue grew 19 percent year-over-year, a vindication of our decision to pivot towards mobile, branded content and a broader suite of marketing services, and to focus on innovation. Despite continued pressure on print advertising, we were able to grow overall revenues by five percent in the quarter.

On costs, we are investing to support our growing digital businesses, most notably this quarter in brand marketing and consumer acquisition. We continue to keep a close eye on costs across the business and remain committed to aggressively managing profitability.

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