The New York Times' Q4 and
full-year 2018 findings, issued today, show an uptick in profits across various divisions.
The company reports it added 265,000 net new digital subscribers in Q4, in what it is calling the largest gain since the 2016 election, ending the year with 3.4 million digital subscriptions and 4.3 million total subscriptions.
The added digital subscriptions reflected a 27.1% increase, compared to the end of Q4 in 2017.
The Times has worked hard to up digital subscriptions, including adding new Cooking and Crossword products. Of the newly added digital subscriptions, 172,000 came from those products.
The outlet grew its digital advertising revenue by 23% year-over-year in Q4, coming in at $103.4 million, or 53.9% of total company advertising revenue. In the same period in 2017, it recorded revenue of $84.2 million, or 46.1%. The company reports the increase in revenue came primarily from direct-sold advertising on its digital platforms and creative services.
Print advertising revenue decreased by 10.2% in Q4 2018.
The company ended 2018 with $709 million in total digital revenue, putting it three quarters of the way toward achieving its five-year goal of doubling digital revenue to $800 million by 2020.
Mark Thompson, president-CEO, The New York Times Company, stated: “As a result, we are setting ourselves a new goal — to grow our subscription business to more than 10 million subscriptions by 2025.
Thompson also added that in its “appeal to subscribers — and to the world’s leading advertisers,” the company will continue to invest in quality journalism. “We have increased, rather than cut back, our investment in our newsroom and opinion departments. We want to accelerate our digital growth further, so in 2019, we will direct fresh investments into journalism, product and marketing.”
The company also reports operating profit decreased to $74.7 million in Q4 2018, down from $90.5 million during the same period in 2017. Adjusted operating profit, or profit before depreciation, amortization, severance, multiemployer pension plan withdrawal costs and special items, was reported to be $94 million in Q4 2018, down from $105.9 million the prior year.
The decrease in profit was due, in part, to an extra week in the company’s 2017 fiscal calendar and higher 2018 operating costs.
The company also shared its outlook for 2019, reporting an expected increase in the low-to-mid-single digits to subscription revenues in Q1 2019. Digital-only subscriptions are expected to increase in the mid-teens during that same period.
Total advertising revenues are expected to decrease in the low-to-mid-single digits during Q1 2019, while digital advertising revenue increases are expected in the mid-teens.