Although The New York Times Co. reported a profit in its third-quarter earnings report on Wednesday, the company’s stock price dipped more than five percent to hover slightly above $18 a share in midday trading.
The stock price fell as the company forecasted high-single-digit declines in total advertising revenues in the fourth quarter and a high-single-digit increase in operating costs compared with the year-ago period.
Third-quarter profit attributed to the company totaled $32.3 million, or 20 cents a share versus income of $406,000 or break-even last year. Adjusted earnings per share totaled 13 cents a share, the company said.
The rise in income was due to digital as the company reported an 11 percent rise in digital advertising revenue to $49.2 million compared with $44.4 million a year ago. Total digital subscription revenues rose 46.3 percent to $85.7 million, compared with $58.6 million. The company added about 154,000 net new digital subscribers, boosting its online subscribers base to 2.5 million. Cooking, which launched as a stand-alone and bundled paid digital product early in July, added 23,000 subscriptions and the Crossword product added 26,000.
Quarterly revenue rose 6.1 percent to $385.6 million from $356.6 million. Analysts expected EPS of 8 cents on revenues of $389 million.
“We had a strong quarter once again, with solid growth in digital subscriptions, digital advertising and subscription revenue and overall profitability,” said Mark Thompson, president and chief executive officer. “These results reflect the ongoing strength of our digital strategy and continued demand for quality, in-depth journalism.”
During an earnings call with investors, Thompson touted the Times’ reporting on allegations of sexual assault in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Fox News — as well as the organization’s breaking and continued news coverage of the mass shooting in Las Vegas and natural disasters. Thompson also spoke about high-profile recent hires, including Choire Sicha’s appointment as editor of the styles section, and the success of the podcast The Daily.
Digital advertising revenue rose 11 percent to $49.2 million in the third quarter, accounting for about 43 percent of its total advertising revenue.
The digital revenue boost helped offset the continued decline in print — print advertising revenue fell 20 percent to $64.4 million this quarter, “mainly due to declines in the luxury, travel, real estate, media technology and telecom categories,” while the slight uptick in print home delivery made up for the decline in newsstand sales.