New York Times hit by slump in ad revenues

New York, May 3

The New York Times today reported a slump in advertising revenues for both print and digital, dragging the newspaper group into the red in the first quarter.

The prestigious US daily posted a loss of $8.3 million in the quarter, narrower than the $14.3 million deficit in the same period a year ago.

Overall revenues dipped 1.2 per cent to $380 million. The Times cited a ‘challenging’ market for both print and digital advertising as it seeks to transition to an online model while expanding its readership globally.

Circulation revenues rose 2.4 per cent from a year ago as the newspaper added a net 67,000 digital-only subscribers.

But the bottom line was hit by weakness in advertising and special charges related to the closing of a paper mill and pension settlements.

“We had a more challenging quarter in both print and digital advertising in large part due to conditions impacting the entire advertising marketplace,” said Mark Thompson, president and chief executive of the New York Times Co.

“We remain confident in our ability to grow our digital advertising revenue in the long term and we are continuing to invest in ad product innovation.”

Revenue from print advertising fell nine per cent while digital ad revenue decreased 1.3 per cent.

Digital accounted for nearly 30 per cent of ad revenues in the quarter, up from 28 per cent a year earlier.

The latest update underscores the slow progress on the large daily as it aims to adapt to a shifting media landscape.

The newspaper announced in April it would invest $50 million into efforts to boost digital readership and revenue outside the United States.

The paper has one of the world’s largest newsroom operations but has been making a slow transition to the digital era, especially in the global arena where internet-only news sites have been leading growth.

Thompson said the paid digital subscription model, now five years old, is helping the newspaper.

“The rate at which we are adding digital subscriptions continues to accelerate,” he said.

“This quarter, we added 67,000 net digital-only subscriptions to our news products, more quarterly additions than we have had in over three years, a 21 per cent increase year-over-year and a real achievement as our pay model reaches its fifth anniversary.”