NY Times' Digital Revenue Outpaces Print For First Time Ever in Q2

The New York Times Company shared its second quarter earnings Wednesday

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The New York Times’ digital revenue surpassed its print revenue for the second quarter of 2020 for the first time in history.

The Times added 669,000 net new digital subscribers during the quarter, according to Wednesday morning’s earnings release from the company. Overall in the quarter, the Times brought in $185.5 million in digital subscription and ad revenue and $175.4 million in print revenue.

Diluted earnings per share for the quarter were at $0.14, which is down 6.7% from the second quarter last year, when diluted earnings per share were at $0.15.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, advertising revenue was significantly down when compared to the second quarter of 2019, falling 43.9%. Advertising revenue was down in the first quarter as the pandemic began, too, decreasing 15.2% compared to Q1 2019.

In a call for investors Wednesday, New York Times Company chief operating officer Meredith Kopit Levien attributed the outlet’s digital success over the prior three months to the work done by Times journalists covering the coronavirus crisis and national unrest over systemic racism.

“I’ll have more to say in the coming quarters, but you can largely expect that we’ll forge ahead and execute on the strategy that has guided us over the past five years. That means continuing to invest in our newsroom, our product and our brand. It also means continuing to increase our focus and emphasis on our product itself, both the journalism and the way that people find and uniquely experience it as the central engine of our business, with plenty of work still ahead to build the world-class product and tech operation to enable that. And it means investing in our people, doing all that it takes to attract and retain top talent in all of our major businesses and ensuring that the Times is a place where talented people can do their best work. That includes thinking and acting ambitiously about diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure that the Times both reflects the world we report on and is a workplace that feels inclusive and rewarding to all of our colleagues,” said Levien in a nod to the ongoing cultural discussion around workplace culture and equity, especially in national newsrooms.

President and CEO Mark Thompson also spoke on the call, lauding the company for the digital milestone and reminding investors that this would be his last earnings report before Levien takes over for him in the coming weeks.

“She’s a unique talent and will be a bold and brilliant CEO,” he said of Levien before joking that when she helms future calls, they’ll be delivered in “American” rather than his British accent.

“It’s a source of some pride for me that my last full quarter as CEO was not only our best ever for new digital subscriptions but the quarter in which total digital revenue exceeded print for the first time,” he shared. “Now, this has taken its time coming, not because we’ve been slower than others to execute our digital strategy — quite the contrary — but because our great tech platform has remained so resilient. It’s clearly a watershed moment in the transformation of the Times. In revenue now, as in everything else, we are a digital-first company and won’t look back from here.”

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