New York Times Operating Profits Nosedive In First Quarter

The New York Times released its first quarter financial results on Thursday — and they weren’t terribly pretty.

Earnings per share fell 50 per cent, from $0.08 per share to $0.04. Adjusted earnings per share fared worse, falling to $0.02 per share for the quarter compared to $0.11 last year.

Operating profit — $31.1 million — fell 41 per cent compared to 2010’s first quarter ($52.7 million).

The results led chief Janet Robinson to explain that the Times is still attempting  to transition from a print-focused company to a multiplatform operation with its just-launched digital paywall.

“Our operating performance reflects the continuing transformation of our company, which intersected with an important milestone in the first quarter,” Robinson said in a statement. “While the challenges for our Company and for the larger economy are not yet behind us, the recent launch of Times digital subscription packages on and across other digital platforms brings our plan for a new revenue stream to life, offering us another reason for optimism about the future of our company.”

Digital subscription packages are outselling the company’s expectations, she said, though the Times did not disclose subscription figures in its earnings statement.

“We are pleased with the number of subscribers we have acquired to date, as initial volume has meaningfully exceeded our expectations,” Robinson said.

The company pinned the bulk of the blame for its quarterly woes on print advertising revenues, which fell 7.5 per cent during the quarter.

Total digital revenues increased 6.1 per cent (to $95.9 million from $90.4 million), and digital advertising revenues increased 4.5 per cent (to $83.6 million from $80.0 million) partially offsetting the print slide.

Overall, revenues decreased 3.6 per cent to $566.5 million from $587.9 million during the quarter. Advertising revenues declined 4.4 per cent, circulation revenues declined 3.7 per cent and other revenues increased 3.2 per cent.

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