Lower Advertising Revenue Pushes New York Times Company to Loss

Digital subscriptions continue to increase

Declines in advertising pushed the New York Times Company into a loss during the third quarter, even as revenues increased slightly on the rise of digital subscriptions.

The company posted a loss of $24 million, or 16 cents per share, for the three month period ending in October, compared with a gain of $2.7 million or two cents a share in the same period a year ago.

Total revenues increased 1.8 percent to  $361.7 million, up from $355 million the previous year. That was slightly less than the $417.3 million in revenues Wall Street had projected.

Cost cutting paid off at the newspaper company, as operating profit rose to $12.9 million, compared with $8.9 million in the same period a year ago.

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The good news for the Times is that more people are paying to read its coverage. The total number of digital subscribers — a particular emphasis in recent months — was approximately 727,000 at the end of the third quarter. That represented a 28 percent year-on-year increase.

However, that couldn’t stanch the decline in ad sales, as revenues dipped 2 percent in the quarter, with losses coming in both the digital and print realm. Print advertising revenue dropped 1.6 percent while digital advertising revenue fell 3.4 percent.

Some of the Times’ losses were attributable to a write-down related to the sale of The Boston Globe and other regional newspapers to Red Sox owner John Henry for $70 million.

“We increased our revenue, decreased our costs and, as a result, significantly increased our operating profit compared with the same quarter last year,” Mark Thompson, the New York Times’ president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“We also made significant progress on our strategic initiatives. But we recognize that, despite these positive developments, we still have a great deal of work to do to transform our business model and to achieve our goal of long-term sustainable growth.”