The Times Added 190,000 Subscribers Last Quarter
The New York Times Company on Wednesday said it added 190,000 digital subscribers last quarter, driven partly by subscriptions to a bundle of products that includes The Athletic sports site, bringing the company’s total digital subscriber base to nine million.
Adjusted operating profit was $54 million, a drop of 11 percent from a year earlier, as the new subscription revenue was offset by higher operating costs and lower advertising revenue.
“In the first quarter, we made steady progress on our essential subscription strategy, with clear signs of substantial runway ahead,” Meredith Kopit Levien, chief executive of The Times, said in a statement.
Over the last decade, The Times has tried to offset declines in its print business — which is profitable but fading — with new revenue from digital subscribers. In recent years, the company has honed that strategy by offering readers a bundle of online utilities including a cooking app, the Wirecutter online shopping service, games like Wordle and The Athletic, pitching itself to subscribers as a guide to the wider world.
The company said it had about 9.7 million subscribers of its print and digital products at the end of the first quarter, up about 8 percent from a year earlier. About 710,000 of those were print subscribers, down about 10 percent from the same period last year.
The Times was not immune from a sector-wide advertising slump. The company said that ad revenue decreased about 8.6 percent to $106 million in the first quarter compared with the same period last year, driven by declines in spending in the technology and finance categories. Luxury advertising has remained resilient, and grew during the last quarter.
The Athletic, which the company purchased last year for $550 million in cash, had 3.3 million subscribers at the end of the quarter, more than double the number in the same period last year. Despite that, losses at The Athletic were $7.8 million, up about 14 percent from a year earlier.
The company said that The Athletic’s losses seemed more pronounced because the company had owned the site for only two of three months in the first quarter of 2022.
On Tuesday, The New York Times announced that it had selected William Bardeen, the company’s chief strategy officer, to serve as the company’s new chief financial officer. Mr. Bardeen will replace Roland Caputo, who has been at the company for nearly 20 years.
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