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New York Times digital business overtakes print for first time

[BENGALURU] The New York Times's second-quarter results beat Wall Street estimates, as its digital unit, which includes news, podcasts and crosswords, overtook the legacy print business for the first time.

The Times, which competes for ad dollars with big players like Facebook and Alphabet's Google, has been shifting towards a subscriber-backed model in an effort to cut its reliance on advertising.

The shift has paid off for the publisher that expects third-quarter digital subscription revenue to rise about 30 per cent.

"We posted our best-ever results for new digital subscriptions, and for the first time in our history total digital revenue exceeded print revenue..," outgoing chief executive officer Mark Thompson said in a statement.

Its digital-only subscriptions was launched in 2011 and offers podcasts including the popular The Daily and cooking recipes, seasoned with crisp images and videos.

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The media company, which gets more than half of its revenue from subscriptions, said it added 669,000 digital subscribers in the quarter.

Subscription revenue rose 8.4 per cent to US$293.19 million, helping the company tide over a 43.9 per cent drop in advertising revenue.

The company warned that advertising revenue will continue to be strained in the current quarter and expects a decline between 35 per cent and 40 per cent.

The company's total revenue fell 7.5 per cent to US$403.75 million, above analysts' estimates of US$387.18 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Excluding items, the company earned 18 US cents per share in the quarter ended June 30, beating analysts' estimate of one US cent per share.


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