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New York Times Reports Robust Digital Subscription Growth in First Quarter
Kathleen Greenler Sexton --- Subscription Expert Kathleen Greenler Sexton --- Subscription Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Boston, MA
Wednesday, May 8, 2024


Digital-Only Subscription Revenue Outpaces Print in 2020The New York Times Company reported a notable increase in digital subscriptions and revenue in the first quarter of 2024. The company gained 210,000 digital subscribers, contributing to a total revenue of $594 million, a 5.9% increase from the previous year. Despite a general decline in advertising revenue, digital ad sales saw a modest rise.

Meredith Kopit Levien, CEO of the Times Company, emphasized the success of the company’s strategic bundling approach, which includes a mix of news, games, sports coverage, and more. This strategy not only attracted new subscribers but also enhanced the average revenue per user.

At the close of the first quarter, the company boasted approximately 10.5 million subscribers across its print and digital platforms, marking an 8% increase year-over-year. Digital subscribers now total 9.9 million. Despite this growth, print subscriptions continued to decline, dropping about 10% from the previous year.

The company’s adjusted operating profit surged by approximately 41%, reaching $76.1 million. This increase was attributed to the higher subscriber base and improved revenue per user metrics.

However, the advertising segment painted a mixed picture. Total advertising revenue fell by 2.4% to $103.7 million, with declines in print advertising and reduced spending by media, entertainment, and technology companies. Conversely, digital advertising revenue increased by 2.9% to $63 million, aided by stronger performances at The Athletic, which itself saw a 33% increase in total revenue due to its growing subscription base and a new licensing deal with Apple.

The New York Times also continued its legal battle against Microsoft and OpenAI, spending $1 million in the first quarter on a lawsuit accusing the companies of copyright infringement through their development of AI tools using The Times’s content without authorization.


The New York Times’s first-quarter results demonstrate the ongoing viability of subscription-based revenue models in the digital age, particularly when bundled with diverse content offerings. This strategy not only stabilizes revenue streams but also caters to the varied interests of a broader audience, potentially leading to higher engagement and retention rates.

The growth in digital subscriptions, especially bundled ones, highlights a significant shift in consumer preference towards comprehensive, multi-faceted media consumption. This trend is likely to continue as publishers enhance their value propositions to meet diverse consumer demands.

However, the continued decline in print subscriptions and traditional advertising revenues signals ongoing challenges within these legacy segments. Publishers like The New York Times must navigate these shifts by innovating and possibly accelerating digital transformation to sustain growth and profitability.

Furthermore, the lawsuit against tech giants like Microsoft and OpenAI indicates the complexities and potential conflicts as traditional media intersects with technological advancements. The outcome of such legal battles could have far-reaching implications for copyright laws and content monetization in the era of AI.

As the media landscape evolves, The New York Times’s strategies and challenges offer valuable insights into the dynamics of digital transformation and the critical balance between content innovation and copyright integrity.

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News Media Interview Contact
Name: Kathy Greenler Sexton
Title: CEO
Group: Subscription Insider
Dateline: Andover, MA United States
Direct Phone: 617-401-7653
Cell Phone: 617-834-2169
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