New York Times building Manhattan

Shares of The New York Times Co. jumped nearly 11 percent in midday trading Wednesday, after the company said it turned a first-quarter profit.

The New York-based firm said results were bolstered by strong digital revenues, including a sizable increase in digital subscriptions, which now total roughly 2.2 million.

In the first quarter, net income attributable to the company totaled $13.2 million, or 8 cents a diluted share, compared with a loss of $8.3 million, or 5 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 5.1 percent to $398.8 million from $379.5 million.

Wall Street expected earnings per share of 7 cents on revenues of $382 million.

“These results show the current strength and future potential of our digital strategy not just to reach a larger audience but also to deliver substantial revenue. We added an astonishing 308,000 net digital news subscriptions, making Q1 [first quarter] the single best quarter for subscriber growth in our history,” said Mark Thompson, president and chief executive officer of the company.

Drilling down the revenue figures, circulation grew 11.2 percent to $242.4 million, thanks to a bump in digital-only subscriptions, which increased 40 percent to $75.8 million.

Advertising revenues shrank 6.9 percent to $130 million, due to declines in print advertising, which fell 17.9 percent. (Print makes up nearly 60 percent of ad revenue.) Nonetheless, digital ad revenue increased 18.9 percent to $49.7 million, or 38.2 percent of total company ad revenues. Other revenues expanded 20.9 percent due mainly to affiliate and referral revenue associated with The Wirecutter and The Sweethome, two review and recommendation sites The Times bought in October.

The company said it expects total circulation revenues in the second quarter to increase at a similar rate as the first quarter, and that the rate of growth of paid digital-only subscriptions will likely slow from the prior two quarters. Ad revenues are also expected to dip in the low-to mid-single digits versus the year-ago period.


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