Fourth quarter earnings report shows New York Times Co. sites have 406,000 digital subscribers

The Boston Globe | Marketwatch

Nearly one year after introducing a new digital subscription plan, The New York Times Co. websites have about 406,000 paid subscribers. That's 390,000 for the Times and the International Herald Tribune, and 16,000 for The Boston Globe, which introduced its new fee structure in the fall. Traffic to has been flat since the paywall went up, based on figures provided by the Times. The new strategy may also be boosting the news organization's Sunday circulation figures.

But revenues remain down. The Times revealed in its release of fourth quarter earnings that it is selling about one-third of its remaining shares in the Boston Red Sox for $30 million.

This divestment follows its sale of the 16 Regional Group papers to Halifax Media for $143 million. The earnings report shows the Regional Group's advertising and circulation revenue were down about 4 percent for the fourth quarter and 6 percent for 2011, compared to 2010. However, the New England Media Group's revenues are down even more, about 8 percent for the fourth quarter, with steep advertising and circulation drops. That Group includes the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Both papers have been on and off the market over the last several years.

Here's a detailed breakdown of the revenue:

The New York Times Company News Media Group 2011 Revenues by Operating Segment (Dollars in thousands)
Group 4th quarter % change vs. 2010 Full year % change vs. 2010
The New York Times Media Group
(New York Times & IHT)
$442,952 0.5% $1,554,574 -0.1%
New England Media Group
(Boston & Worcester)
$104,443 -7.7% $398,056 -6.1%
Regional Media Group
(now sold)
$69,449 -4.2% $259,945 -6.0%

Advertising revenue for the New England Group was down almost 11 percent for the quarter and 7 percent year to year. Circulation was down 5.4 percent for the quarter and 5.7 percent compared to 2010.

The overall outlook projected by the Times:

"Total advertising revenue trends in the first quarter of 2012 are expected to be similar to the level experienced in the fourth quarter of 2011.

"Total circulation revenues are projected to increase in the high-single digits in the first quarter of 2012 as the Company expects to benefit from its digital subscription initiatives, as well as from the print circulation price increase at The New York Times implemented in the first quarter of 2012."

Related: New York Times to retool its technology, health blogs in the model of DealBook (paidContent)


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