The New York Times Company reported a significant milestone in its financial performance, with annual revenue for digital subscriptions surpassing $1 billion for the first time. The company added 300,000 paid digital subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2023, contributing to this achievement. Total revenue for the last three months of the year was reported at $676.2 million, showing minimal change compared to the previous year. However, the adjusted operating profit increased by 8.5 percent to $154 million, indicating a positive trend in the company’s financial health.
The Times’ president and chief executive, Meredith Kopit Levien, attributed the strong performance to the company’s strategy of offering a bundle of products to subscribers, including its core news report, games like Wordle and Spelling Bee, its product review site Wirecutter, a recipe app, and The Athletic, its sports news website.
Speaking of The Athletic, which The Times acquired two years ago, the company reported a significant decrease in operating losses and a 31.3 percent growth in revenue. The Times currently has 10.36 million subscribers, with a goal to reach 15 million subscribers by the end of 2027.
While the company has experienced success in its digital subscription business, the news media industry as a whole is facing challenges. Many publishers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and Business Insider, have been forced to lay off journalists or offer buyouts due to a decline in readers reaching news sites through social media platforms, reduced user interest in news, and a tough market for advertising.
Advertising was a weak spot for The Times in the fourth quarter, with total advertising revenue decreasing by 8.4 percent. The number of print subscribers also continued to decline, from 730,000 at the end of 2022 to 660,000 by the end of 2023.
Opinion: The success of The New York Times in growing its digital subscription business is a testament to the value that readers place on quality journalism. As the industry continues to face challenges, it is clear that a strong digital strategy and a focus on providing unique, engaging content are essential for the long-term sustainability of news organizations.