NY Times adds 43 000 online subscribers

The New York Times reportedly added more than 40 000 digital subscribers in the third financial quarter of 2011. Although advertising revenue continued to decline.

The New York Times Co. reported a net profit of US$15.7-billion in the quarter which ended in September. This compared favourably with a loss of US$4.3-million in the same quarter last year.

Revenue at the printing giant declined 3.1% to US$537.2-million.

In addition to its New York Times flagship offering, Times Co. owns the Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune and About.com.

Total advertising revenue was down 8.8% to US$262-million while circulation revenue increased 3.4% to US$237-million.

Print advertising was hardest hit, falling 10.4% in the quarter while digital advertising was down 4.5%.

In the announcement Times Co. said its paid subscriber base had increased from 281 000 to 324 000 in the third quarter.

“Our digital subscription initiatives remained our top focus in the third quarter,” Times Co. president and chief executive Janet Robinson said in a conference call with financial analysts.

“We made significant progress in developing a robust digital subscription revenue stream,” Robinson said during the conference call.

“Despite a challenging advertising environment, our operating profit grew reflecting our strong cost performance and growth in circulation revenues.”

The publishing giant posted an operating profit of US$33- million in the quarter, up from US$9-million in the same quarter last year.

Like a number of major newspapers in the West, The New York Times has been struggling with declining print advertising revenue and the migration of readers to free online news.

In March, The Times erected a freemium-style paywall around NYTimes.com and recently launched a subscription-only website for The Boston Globe.

The paywall has not, however, significantly deterred visitor traffic.

Robinson claims that NYTimes.com received more than 47-million unique visitors in August.

“NYTimes.com has maintained its strong traffic and its ranking as a top five news and information site, she said.

Page-view declines were “less than projected” Robinson said and had dropped an average of 11% since The Times began charging online readers in March.

The paper has also been doing well with its mobile offerings.

According to Robinson there had been 7.3-million downloads of the newspaper’s iPhone news application and 2.8-million downloads of its iPad news app.

The Times has also expanded its international offerings. It recently launched India Inc., an English-language blog offering news and analysis “with a distinct perspective on topics that matter most to Indians that all — and those interested in India”.



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