New York Times Digital Growth Buoys Q1 Earnings

New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) released its first-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday. The newspaper operator said that it had $0.17 in earnings per share (EPS) on $413.9 million in revenue, better than consensus estimates of $0.15 in earnings per share (EPS) on $408.5 million. The same period of last year had $0.10 in EPS and revenue of $398.8 million.

For the quarter, the company reported its segments as follows:

  • Subscription revenues increased 7.5% year over year to $260.59 million.
  • Advertising revenues decreased 3.4% to $125.65 million.
  • Other revenues increased 5.0% to $27.71 million.

Revenue from the digital-only subscription products increased 25.8% compared with the first quarter of 2017, to $95.4 million. Paid digital-only subscriptions totaled roughly 2,783,000 at the end of the first quarter of 2018, a net increase of 139,000 sequentially and a 25.5% increase year over year. Of the 139,000 additions, 99,000 came from the digital news products, while the remainder came from the Cooking and Crossword products.

In terms of the outlook for the second quarter, the company expects to see total advertising revenues to decrease in the low-teens year over year, and operating costs are expected to increase in the mid-single digits.

Mark Thompson, president and CEO, commented:

In the first quarter, we saw increases in revenue and overall profitability and continued solid growth in our digital subscription business. The strong demand for the high quality, independent journalism that The Times produces resulted in a 139,000 net increase in digital-only subscriptions for the quarter. We’re seeing good retention of new cohorts of subscribers and continue to believe there is a big opportunity to further grow this increasingly important part of our business. Subscription revenues accounted for nearly two-thirds of the Company’s revenues and, as we continue to adapt our subscription model and introduce new products, we expect that trend to continue.

Shares of New York Times were last seen down 4% at $22.05, with a consensus analyst price target of $23.67 and a 52-week range of $22.00 to $23.65.