Earnings Season

New York Times’ digital revenue exceeds print for the first time ever

ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

The New York Times digital revenue was driven by its subscriber base, which now stands at 6.5 million. Advertising revenue continues to struggle due to the pandemic.

The takeaways:
  • This is the first time ever that digital revenues have exceeded print revenues. Digital subscription and ad revenue for Q2 was $185.5 million, while print subscriptions brought in $175.0 million.
  • Total revenue decreased by 7.5% year-over-year from $436.3 million to $403.8 million. Advertising revenue declined by 43.9% which was better than predictions of 50-55%.
  • The company added 669,000 digital subscriptions between April and June. This made Q2 its largest-ever quarter for subscription growth. The times now has 6.5 million subscribers, of which 5.7 million are digital-only.

Report card: The news marks a successful full last quarter for current Times CEO, Mark Thompson, who is stepping down on Septemeber 8th. In the earnings call he stated:

  • “We posted our best ever results for new digital subscriptions, and for the first time in our history total digital revenue exceeded print revenue – a key milestone in the transformation of The New York Times and a testament to how much we’ve achieved over the past eight years.”
  • “Wholehearted investment in high-quality journalism drives deep audience engagement, which in turn drives revenue growth and further investment capacity.”

His successor, Meredith Kopit Levien, has plans to add more digital products such as games and other non-news products.

By the numbers:

  • Adjusted operating profit for Q2 was $52.1 million, down 6.2% from $55.6 million in Q2 2019.
  • Net income declined 6% year-over-year to $23.7 million.
  • The strong subscription numbers indicate that the Times is on track to hit its goal of 10 million subscriptions in 2025.

Bucking the trend: The pandemic has drawn a large slump in advertising revenues, which has lead to small and large publishers laying off many of their staff. The Times, on the other hand, continues to hire, emboldening its commitment to high-quality journalism.

Its political segment, since the election of Donald Trump, has been a key driver of digital subscriptions.

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