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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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