New York Times Adds 210,000 Digital Subscribers in Quarter

The New York Times Company gained 210,000 digital subscribers last quarter, largely users who signed up for a bundle of services including news, games and sports coverage through The Athletic, the company said on Wednesday.

Adjusted operating profit for the three months was $76.1 million, an increase of 40.9 percent from a year earlier, propelled both by the increase in subscribers and by higher average revenue per user.

“2024 is off to a strong start, as our results reflect the power of our strategy to be the essential subscription for every curious person seeking to understand and engage with the world,” Meredith Kopit Levien, chief executive of the Times Company, said in a statement.

In recent years, The Times has tried to get more subscribers to pay for a bundle of services that include Wirecutter, which recommends products, and Cooking, an app that offers users a vast library of recipes. By increasing the number of those subscribers, The Times can expand its revenue per user, a closely watched number on Wall Street.

The company said it had about 10.5 million subscribers overall for its print and digital products at the end of the first quarter, up roughly 8 percent from a year earlier. About 640,000 of those were print subscribers, down about 10 percent from the same period last year. The company’s goal is 15 million total subscribers by the end of 2027.

While the number of digital subscribers continues to grow, The Times’s ad business has suffered declines. Overall revenue from advertisements decreased 2.4 percent, to $103.7 million, from a year earlier, the company said. It said the falloff had been driven by declines in print advertising and lower spending by media, entertainment and technology companies. Digital advertising increased 2.9 percent, to $63 million, thanks in part to higher ad revenue at The Athletic.

The company said it spent $1 million in the first quarter on its lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI, which are working together on developing artificial intelligence. The Times sued the companies in December, accusing them of copyright infringement. Both Microsoft and OpenAI have sought to dismiss key elements of the lawsuit.

The Athletic, which The Times bought in 2022 for $550 million, had 4.99 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter, an increase of about 1.72 million from a year earlier. Those numbers include users who pay for The Athletic as a stand-alone subscription or have access to The Athletic through their bundle subscription. The Athletic lost $8.7 million in the first quarter, versus a loss of $11.3 million a year earlier.

The company said revenue at The Athletic had increased 33 percent, to $37.2 million, in the first quarter, thanks largely to increased subscriptions and a deal to license articles to Apple for its news product.

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