‘Failing’ NY Times Revenues Climb 10 Percent on Post-Trump Digital Subscriber Growth

Paper now has more than 2.5 million digital-only subscribers

New York Times building
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President Trump has often said the New York Times is “failing,” but its latest earnings report shows otherwise.

The “newspaper of record” posted strong fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, bolstered by 157,000 new digital-only subscribers — a 49 percent quarter-over-quarter increase. The Times now boasts more than 2.6 million digital-only subscribers.

The fresh customers spurred a 10 percent year-over-year increase in revenue for Q4, with the Times pulling in $484 million for the quarter; that exceeded analyst estimates of about $467 million in sales. Overall, revenue hit $1.7 billion for the year, an 8 percent bump from 2016. Earnings were 39 percent a share, compared to estimates of 29 cents a share on average.

Those numbers sent its stock rocketing higher, with shares jumping more than 13 percent to about $25.10 in early morning trading on Thursday. Shares of NYT have swelled 43 percent since early November.

“2017 was a year marked by growth and innovation both in our groundbreaking journalism and in our thriving business, said Mark Thompson, president and chief executive officer of The New York Times Company, accompanying its earnings. “We had our best revenue growth in many years, driven by strong digital subscription revenues, which increased by over $100 million year-over-year. Subscription revenues were over one billion dollars in 2017, or 60 percent of the year’s total revenues, and is a clear sign that our subscription-first business model is proving to be an effective way to support our broad journalistic ambitions.”

As you probably guessed, digital ad sales increased with the spike in web readers, rising 9 percent year-over-year to $84 million. Operating profit fell from $56 million last quarter to $23 million, with the company pointing to pension payments and higher costs.