As ads dip, Times Co increases revenue on subscribers

Thu Feb 7, 2013 5:15pm EST
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By Jennifer Saba

(Reuters) - A surge in subscription revenue - mostly digital - let The New York Times Co easily surpass expectations last quarter giving a positive start to the company's new chief executive officer, Mark Thompson.

Shares rallied as much as 15 percent to highs not seen since October though the volatile stock gave up most of those gains by the end of the day.

The earnings results marked the public debut of Thompson.

On his first call with analysts, Thompson spotlighted the company's progress on the digital front and how circulation revenue has surpassed advertising revenue for the first time for 2012.

"I took this job not just because I have been a devoted user of The New York Times for many years, but because I believe it is one of a handful of global news brands which cannot just survive but can thrive in this digital era," he said in his opening remarks.

Indeed, the company, which also publishes The Boston Globe, is reaping the benefits of charging readers for full access to its digital newspapers, a program it introduced almost two years ago.

Benchmark Co analyst Edward Atorino called the circulation revenue "phenomenal."

"It looks better than I thought," he said about the overall results.   Continued...

The headquarters of the New York Times is pictured on 8th Avenue in New York in this April 30, 2008, file photo. The New York Times Co on February 7, 2013, reported higher quarterly revenue as more people paid for its digital newspapers. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn/Files