Pandemia brings down NYT Q2 revenues by US$ 33 million

NYT’s digital revenue overtakes print for the first time

A total of 669,000 net new digital subscriptions were added by TNYT

The New York Times Company has, for the first time, reported higher revenues from its digital business than its print operations, it said in its second-quarter results report. Nevertheless, total revenues for the second quarter of 2020 decreased by 7.5% to US$ 403.8 million from US$ 436.3 million in the second quarter of 2019. Subscription revenues increased by 8.4%, advertising revenues decreased 43.9%, and other revenues decreased by 5%.

“The last full quarter of my stint as CEO of The Times was also one of the most significant. We posted our best ever results for new digital subscriptions, and for the first time in our history, total digital revenue exceeded print revenue – a key milestone in the transformation of The New York Times and a testament to how much we’ve achieved over the past eight years,” Mark Thompson, president and chief executive officer, The New York Times Company, said.

The New York Times reported US$ 185.5 million in revenues from digital subscriptions and advertisements, compared to US$ 175.4 million in revenues from print subscriptions and advertisements. In the year-ago quarter, the company reported US$ 220.56 million in print subscription and ad revenues and US$ 170.66 million in digital subscription and ad revenues.

In the second quarter, TNYT added 493,000 net new digital subscriptions to its core news product and 176,000 additions to other digital products, for a total of 669,000 net new digital subscription additions. At the end of Q2, it had 5.7 million total digital-only subscriptions and 6.5 million total subscriptions. Thompson said The New York Times is well on the way to the goal of 10 million subscriptions that he set for the company last year.

Pandemic writ large on Q2 revenues

Second-quarter digital advertising revenue decreased by 31.9%, while print advertising revenue fell 55%. Digital advertising revenue was US$ 39.5 million, or 58.3% of total company advertising revenues, compared with US$ 58.0 million, or 48.1%, in the second quarter of 2019. Digital advertising revenue decreased primarily due to the lower demand for direct-sold advertising as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Print advertising revenue decreased as the pandemic further accelerated secular trends, mainly impacting the entertainment, luxury, and technology categories.

The New York Times expects total subscription revenues in the third quarter of 2020 to increase by approximately 10% compared with the third quarter of 2019, with digital-only subscription revenue expected to increase by about 30%.

Total advertising revenues in the third quarter of 2020 are expected to decline by approximately 35 to 40% compared to Q3 of 2019. Digital advertising revenue is expected to decrease by about 20% compared to the previous year’s Q3, primarily due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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