NY Times boosts digital subscribers, revenue off

NEW YORK Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:03pm EDT

Vehicles drive past the New York Times headquarters in New York March 1, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Vehicles drive past the New York Times headquarters in New York March 1, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A big rise in the number of digital subscribers to the New York Times sent shares of the newspaper's parent company up as much as 8.5 percent in morning trading.

The New York Times Co said on Thursday that the nytimes.com website had 224,000 digital subscribers at the end of the second quarter, up from more than 100,000 in April.

"The standout is getting a little bit more (insight) into the digital subscribers," said Derek Maupin, a research analyst with Hodges Capital Management, which holds a position in the company. He said the subscription numbers were encouraging.

Excluding severance charges and other items, the company earned 14 cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 9 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

While the company is making headway with its digital subscriptions, it cannot shake a print advertising slump clinging to the U.S. newspaper business.

Quarterly revenue fell 2.2 percent to $576.7 million, dragged down by a 6.4 percent decline in print advertising.

Indeed, the largest U.S. newspaper publisher, USA Today owner Gannett Co, reported lower quarterly revenue and profit as advertisers continued to pull back on spending.

New York Times Chief Executive Janet Robinson warned in a statement that "economic and industry conditions continue to present challenges" and that advertisers remain wary.

At the News York Times Media Group, ad revenue slipped less than 1 percent while revenue from paid subscriptions rose slightly.

The New York Times newspaper is outperforming the industry, said Douglas Arthur, an analyst with Evercore Partners.

The New York Times started charging for some access to the nytimes.com and related digital products in March in an experiment that other publishers are watching closely as they wonder whether they should do it too.

Digital advertising revenue at the News Media Group, which includes nytimes.com, rose almost 16 percent to $58.2 million.

The company, which also publishes the Boston Globe, said it is seeking a buyer for the remaining shares of the company that owns the Boston Red Sox baseball team. Earlier this month, it sold more than half of its stake in the Fenway Sports Group for $117 million in cash.

Revenue at the About Group, which includes the About.com network of websites, fell about 17 percent to $27.8 million, hurt by changes that Google made to its search results formula.

The company reported a second-quarter net loss of $119.7 million, or 81 cents per share, compared with a net profit of $32 million, or 21 cents per share, a year earlier.

The loss resulted primarily from a non-cash charge of 93 cents per share, mainly at its regional media group. That includes newspapers in California, Florida and other states in the southeastern United States.

Shares of the New York Times were up almost 4 percent at $9.32 in midday trade.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba. Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Derek Caney and Robert MacMillan)

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Comments (2)
AU79 wrote:
“… Boots Digital Subscribers”

&

“… had 224,000 digital subscribers at the end of the second quarter, up from more than 100,000 in April.”

Easy to figure out why: A result from excellent content and site design. Reuters probably does pretty well too.

Jul 21, 2011 11:13am EDT  --  Report as abuse
SuefromSault wrote:
I would be HAPPY to pay an additional 20% or more for my kindle subscription (With on-line access) The stumbling block has never been the paper subscription price but the messy way it was delivered. Now I can read the “paper” at 4 – 6am and update at 6pm on the web (as I used to do when I lived in Manhattan with home delivery and a scan of the news stands papers on the way home from work at night!)

Problem is:
1. the old way was eco-unfriendly and
2. Impossible if one moved out of town!

Jul 22, 2011 2:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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