New York Times building Manhattan

The digital evolution of The New York Times continues to roil in the face of print advertising declines and hefty charges related to pension settlements.

Fourth-quarter profit attributed to The Times shrank 28.1 percent to $37.1 million, or 24 cents a diluted share, compared with year-ago income of $51.7 million, or 31 cents a share. Revenue slid 1.1 percent to $439.7 million versus $444.7 million. Analysts were looking for earnings per share of 24 cents on sales of $437.8 million. On an adjusted basis, the firm reported 30 cents a share from continuing operations.

Despite the shrinking profits, The Times added 276,000 net new digital news subscriptions in the quarter, which, according to chief executive officer and president Mark Thompson, made it the “single best quarter since 2011, the year the pay model launched.”

Print advertising revenue fell 20.4 percent. Digital advertising revenue, which made up 41.9 percent of total revenues, totaled $77.6 million, a 10.9 percent increase over the year-ago period. The firm said digital advertising revenues were bolstered by sales from its mobile platform, programmatic buying channels and branded content. Those gains, however, were offset by a dip in “traditional web site display advertising.” Revenues from circulation also expanded 5 percent to $226 million.

“The continued excellence of our journalism and our consumer-first focus led to incredible strength in our circulation business, both in the fourth quarter and for the full year,” said Thompson. “As of today, we have passed the 3 million paid subscription mark (print and digital), a significant milestone.”

The ceo continued: “We continue to experience significant headwinds in print advertising, but the robustness of our consumer business, which we expect will continue, provides a strong counterbalance to these market challenges. We will remain focused on our legacy cost base while continuing to invest in digital growth and innovation.”

Last month, the company laid out its strategy for the coming years, which includes developing more revenue-generating products, expanding service journalism efforts, amping up visual content and investing in its reporting of the Trump administration.

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