New York Times adds record percentage of non-core news subscriptions

New York Times adds record percentage of non-core news subscriptions
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The New York Times says it has added a record percentage of non-core news subscriptions in its second quarter, with 65,000 new customers paying for non-news products such as cooking, games and audio content. 

The company revealed the gains in its second quarter earnings report, which included a total operating profit of $73.3 million, up from the $28.8 million recorded during the same period in 2020. 

The adjusted operating profit for the company increased to $92.9 million from $52.1 million the prior year, with the Times noting that increased revenues from more subscriptions, advertising and other streams helped to offset higher costs. 

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In total, the company added 142,000 net digital subscriptions, with 77,000 additional news subscribers, according to the earnings report. 

Despite the surge in non-core news subscribers, the rate of total digital subscriber growth was the lowest recorded for the Times in three years. 

The Times, like other newsrooms, has been impacted by a decrease in overall web traffic with the change in presidential administrations, with the last quarter being the slowest for net new subscription growth. 

However, Times President and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien said in a statement Wednesday that the gains reported in the second quarter are “a testament to the success of our strategy, the strength of the market for paid digital journalism, and our unique opportunity to meet that demand.” 

In total, the Times has more than 8 million paid subscribers across its digital and print products, the company said Wednesday. 

“We are continuing to invest in both the value of our individual products and the broader bundle,” Levien added. “We believe these investments will enable us to grow our market share and also to build a larger and more profitable company over time.”

The Times has a long-standing goal of reaching at least 10 million paid digital subscribers by 2025, with Levien saying Wednesday the company expects there are at least 100 million people willing to pay for news in English. 

The company said that for the current quarter ending in September, it hopes digital subscription revenue will rise to 25 to 30 percent from a year earlier, with online ad sales expected to jump 40 to 45 percent. 

The Times reported that Levien said in an earnings call with investors following the release of the report, “In general, our preference is to use the strong balance sheet that we have to invest in our strategy and maximize the value of our product.”