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New York Times to Pass 4 Million Subscribers ‘Soon’

FILE PHOTO: The sun peaks over the New York Times Building in New York on Aug. 14, 2013.
FILE PHOTO: The sun peaks over the New York Times Building in New York on Aug. 14, 2013.

The New York Times, the most prestigious newspaper in the United States, announced Wednesday that it expects to “soon” cross the threshold of four million subscribers, even if growth is slowing.

The company added 109,000 new digital-only subscriptions in the second quarter.

As a result, the newspaper ended the quarter with a 2.89 million digital-only subscriptions and 3.8 million subscriptions as a whole, including readers who receive only the print edition.

Trump's win a boost for Times

Since late 2016, when Donald Trump shocked the US establishment by winning the US presidency, the Times has enjoyed a period of rapid growth, acquiring around one million new subscribers.

“We’ll soon pass three million digital-only subscribers and four million total subscribers,” Mark Thompson, president and chief executive officer, told a conference call with investors, on Wednesday.

But the market has seen digital subscription growth slow, with a net gain of 139,000 readers in the first quarter of 2018, compared to 157,000 new digital-only subscriptions in the last quarter of 2017.

Thompson countered that the net additions were “still much higher” than typically achieved in the second quarter since the launch of the pay model.

Another reason, he said, for the slowdown was the Times’ decision to reduce marketing spent on Facebook due to a dispute with the social network which is currently in the process of being resolved.

Subscription numbers are up

Subscription income accounted for 62.8 percent of revenue in the second quarter, compared to 50.5 percent five years ago, an increase that has partially offset a decline in advertising income, the company said.

Subscription revenue was up 4.2 percent year-on-year, while advertising revenue was down 9.9 percent.

Second-quarter digital advertising revenue decreased 7.5 percent, while total revenue increased to $414.6 million, a growth of 4.2 percent year-on-year.

Net profit was $23.6 million, up 51 percent mainly due to a lower outlay on severance costs compared to the same quarter in 2017.