New York Times Q3 Earnings Rise Despite 20 Percent Decline in Print Ad Sales

Fortunately, digital advertising offset about half of that

Last Updated: November 1, 2017 @ 6:23 AM

The New York Times saw print again decline in the third quarter of 2017, as digital did its best to make up for the physical newspaper’s losses.

The midtown-Manhattan-based media giant on Wednesday reported adjusted earnings per share of 13 cents on $385.6 million in revenue. Wall Street had forecast earnings per share (EPS) of 8 cents on $389.03 million in revenue, per an admittedly limited Yahoo Finance poll.

Over the third quarter of 2016, EPS was 6 cents. In other words, the New York Times not only beat analyst estimates, it more than doubled last year’s comparable per-shareholder profit.

It wasn’t all roses, however. Print advertising dropped 20.1 percent in Q3. Thankfully, digital grew 11 percent, offsetting about half of the traditional medium’s loss.

In print, it was luxury, travel, real estate, media, technology and telecommunications categories that pulled in the most money. Smartphones kicked in a little extra dough on the digital side.

Overall, subscription revenues increased 13.6 percent. While the number of print copies sold again declined, a home-delivery price increase helped out there. Though truly again it was the company’s digital-only products — up a big 46.3 percent — coming to the rescue.

Here’s what New York Times Company president and CEO Mark Thompson had to saw about his recent three-month period:

We had a strong quarter once again, with solid growth in digital subscriptions, digital advertising and subscription revenue and overall profitability.

Total revenue for the Company grew by 6 percent in the quarter and we added 154,000 net digital-only subscriptions, a 14 percent increase in the number of net subscription additions compared with the same quarter last year, driven by strong growth across our products. Of note, our digital news product added 105,000 subscriptions and Cooking, which launched as a paid digital product early in the quarter, added 23,000 subscriptions.

These results reflect the ongoing strength of our digital strategy and continued demand for quality, in-depth journalism.

One last point on digital: The New York Times added a net of 154,000 subs online in Q3.

NYT stock closed Wednesday at $19.10 per share, down 12 cents. The U.S. stock markets open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

New York Times executives will host a conference call at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the quarter in greater detail.