February 6, 2019 / 2:04 PM / a year ago

New York Times beats estimates on digital subscriber growth

(Reuters) - The New York Times Co beat forecasts for both profit and revenue in the last three months of 2018 as it added another 265,000 digital subscribers, the biggest quarterly jump since the months after the 2016 elections.

FILE PHOTO - The sun peaks over the New York Times Building in New York August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The New York Times, the beneficiary of a “Trump bump” from two years of attacks by President Donald Trump on the paper, said it was now targeting 10 million subscribers by 2025, compared to 4.3 million currently.

Shares of the 167-year old newspaper rose 8.9 percent in Wednesday morning trade after it published results for the fourth quarter, adding to a roughly 21 percent gain so far in 2019.

The company’s digital advertising revenue rose 22.8 percent to $103.4 million in the quarter, while print advertising revenue fell another 10.2 percent.

Against the backdrop of digital media companies such as Vice Media LLC and BuzzFeed deciding to cut jobs to rein in costs, Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson said the Times would be investing more not less in reporting.

“How will we go about meeting this new goal? First, journalism,” Thompson said on a conference call.

Revenue from the Times’ digital-only subscription products, which gives readers access to news as well as its sought-after daily crossword puzzles and cooking recipes, rose 9.3 percent to $105.3 million in the quarter.

Net income attributable to shareholders was $55.2 million, or 33 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $56.8 million, or 35 cents per share, a year earlier, when the company booked one-time charges related to tax reform and pension settlements.

Total revenue rose to $502.7 million from $484.1 million a year earlier, which included an additional week.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 32 cents per share from continuing operations.

Analysts on average estimated a profit of 28 cents per share and revenue of $477.1 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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