The New York Times Co.’s digital transformation continued through the second quarter, and now its online subscriptions and ad revenue outweigh the print version’s earnings, even though the coronavirus reduced ad sales.
The company reported Wednesday that had its best quarter in digital subscriptions, with 669,000 new users for its news, cooking and puzzle apps. Now it has 5.7 million digital subscribers and 6.5 million in total. It has a goal of 10 million subscribers by 2025.
The Times has successfully built a digital subscription model, but a chasm has emerged between it and local publishers, whose hardships have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Many news organizations, even digital-only ones, have cut wages, suspended or laid off thousands of workers, or closed due to falling advertising revenue.
The publishing house is expanding its business to audio, with the purchase in July of the popular Serial podcast, as well as on television and cinema.
For example, Lionsgate film studio Oprah Winfrey and house journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones partnered to adapt the Times’ Project 1619, for film and television, about the legacy of slavery and racism.
Usually, Times net income fell 6% at $ 23.7 million, or 14 cents a share, in the April-June quarter.
Total revenue fell 7.5% to 403.8 million, with digital subscriptions and ads attracting more for the first time than the print version: $ 185.5 million for digital vs. $ 175.4 million for print.
There are other business lines as well, such as licenses paid by Facebook and an e-commerce business from its separate Wirecutter product review site.
Advertising revenue fell 44% to $ 67.8 million, while subscription revenue increased 8.4% to $ 293.2 million.
The company expects advertising revenue in the current quarter to continue to decline between 35% and 40% from last year and that subscription revenue will grow 10%.
The company had said that due to the pandemic it would cut jobs, but not in the newsroom. In the second quarter, severance costs increased due to layoffs, primarily in the advertising department.