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NY Times Hits 7 Million Subscribers, Led by Digital-Only Readers

Advertising revenue is down, as it has been through the year, but is offset by digital-only subscriptions

The New York Times Company announced Thursday that subscription revenue was way up in the third quarter of 2020. The company hit 7 million digital subscribers in October just after the third quarter of 2020, which meant that digital subscription revenue outpaced print subscription revenue for the first time.

“For the second quarter running, total digital revenue exceeded print revenue. And for the first time, total digital-only subscription revenue exceeded print subscription revenue, making digital-only subscriptions not just the central engine of the company’s growth, but on its way to being our largest revenue stream,” said Meredith Kopit Levien, the New York Times Company’s president and chief executive officer.

Operating profit went up to $39.6 million in Q3 of 2020, rising from $25.1 million in Q3 of 2019. Adjusted operating profit moved up to $56.5 million from $44.1 million. The increases are attributable to higher digital-only subscription revenues. The company said that though advertising revenue is low, lower costs more than offset them.

The company also announced that Q3 2020 diluted earnings per share were up to $.20 from $.10 in the same period last year. Adjusted diluted earnings per share were $.22 in Q3 of 2020, up from $.12 in the third quarter of 2019.

The interest in Times content that helped push digital-only subscribers across the 7 million mark comes during an unprecedented general election, unrest over systemic racism and a global pandemic that has killed over 234,000 Americans and decimated the economy.

“In this unprecedented moment in the country and the world, our strategy of making journalism worth paying for continues to prove itself out, and our newsroom’s extraordinary work across a range of subjects and formats continues to drive more people to engage with The Times, form a habit, pay and stay,” said Levien.