NY Times Reports Robust Subscriber Growth Despite Internal Issues

The New York Times has a bright financial picture despite a host of internal and external issues.

The New York Times has a bright financial picture despite a host of internal and external issues. Sifro Gonzalez/Flickr Creative Commons

All those people you see reading the print New York Times on the train represent only a small portion of its user base.

The Gray Lady reported in second-quarter earnings today that growth in online subscriptions and digital revenue helped offset a decline in print advertising.

Most notably, the Times revealed that over three-quarters of its subscriptions are online-only. Of the company’s 3.8 million subscribers, 2.9 million of them read solely the digital edition.

The Times also reported a $99 million profit from digital subscriptions, which represented a 20 percent increase from the same period in 2017.

Outside the digital realm, the Times also got an increased cash infusion from an agreement with Newsday to print and distribute its publications at a Times facility in Queens. It also rented out an additional four floors in its headquarters.

As always, ad revenue was a struggle, decreasing 10 percent overall. Print advertising was down 11.5 percent, with digital ads dropping 7.5 percent (company stock was down almost six percent because of this).

Still, there was good news overall: total revenue for The New York Times Company increased two percent to $415 million.

These statistics may come as a surprise to people who closely follow the Times, given the many issues the paper has dealt with of late.

Most notably, last month President Donald Trump got into a very public spat with publisher A.G. Sulzberger.

Trump tweeted out details from a meeting both parties had previously agreed was off the record, and in response, Sulzberger decried Trump’s “dangerous” anti-press rhetoric.

The Times has also been accused of a partisan imbalance—a recent study found the paper quotes Republicans twice as often as Democrats.

In addition, Times staffers have been accused of sexual harassment and transphobia. And the op-ed page has become a haven for the “intellectual dark web.”

Most recently, the Times came under fire for hiring Sarah Jeong as a tech op-ed writer. Conservative media pounced on old tweets in which they claimed she was racist against white people (that’s not a thing). The paper said the tweets were inappropriate but stood by Jeong.

So in spite of its many problems, the Gray Lady is still riding high—and that’s not fake news.

NY Times Reports Robust Subscriber Growth Despite Internal Issues