New York Times subscription growth slows after news-heavy 2020

"We expect moderated growth to continue through the second quarter, traditionally our softest of the year." Digital-only subscription revenue, the largest source of revenue for the company, grew 38% to $179.6 million in the quarter.


Reuters | Updated: 05-05-2021 18:06 IST | Created: 05-05-2021 18:06 IST
New York Times subscription growth slows after news-heavy 2020

The New York Times Co' quarterly subscription growth was the slowest in over a year after an action-packed 2020 that was dominated by stories around the U.S. elections, civil unrest and the coronavirus crisis.

This, despite the Times' efforts to ramp up its digital products including news, games, cooking and podcast apps that have helped it rake in hundreds of thousands of subscribers in recent years. At the end of March, the Times had more than 7.8 million total subscriptions across digital and print - with close to 7 million digital-only subscriptions, of which 75% came from its core news product.

Its digital business has been a beacon for other newspapers across a struggling industry, ravaged by tech giants Google and Facebook Inc, which have siphoned online advertising dollars from publishers and distribute news articles without paying the producing outlets. "In February and March, our audiences declined from their historic highs last year, and we saw fewer net subscription additions in the latter part of the quarter," Chief Executive Officer Meredith Kopit Levien said.

The company said on Wednesday it added 301,000 digital subscribers in the first quarter, its lowest gain since the third quarter of 2019. "We expect moderated growth to continue through the second quarter, traditionally our softest of the year."

Digital-only subscription revenue, the largest source of revenue for the company, grew 38% to $179.6 million in the quarter. The Times expects it to grow about 30% in the second quarter compared with a year earlier. Shares of the company were marginally up in premarket trading after an upbeat first quarter.

Revenue rose 6.6% to $473 million versus analysts' average estimate of $463.3 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Excluding items, the company posted a profit of 26 cents per share, edging past estimates of 14 cents.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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