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NYT's revenues grew 24% year-over-year(y-o-y) to $498.5 million and its adjusted EPS doubled to $0.36, easily beating the market estimates. In addition, NYT reported more than 8 million paid subscriptions across digital and print products. Sub growth moderated a bit, though, not only in a seasonally soft quarter but also against the tough Covid-19 pandemic comparison. subscriptions revenues grew 16% y-o-y mainly due to growth in digital-only products (including not only news but also Games, Cooking, and subscription audio), where revenues grew 30% y-o-y.
The pandemic cut even deeper into ad sales, which were already falling as fewer people read the paper in print and many companies cut their marketing budgets during the pandemic. However, total advertising sales grew 66% y-o-y to $112.8 million in Q2. As a whole, digital advertising grew 79.6% and print ad revenue gained 48%. Compared to Q2 2019, digital ad revenue rose 22.4% and print ad revenue fell 33.4%.
NYT expects subscription revenues to rise about 13-15%, with digital-only sub revenue seen rising 25%-30%. The company expects overall ad revenues to jump 30-35% year-over-year, with digital ad revenue up 40-45% thanks to some easy comps from last year's ad slump. To add to this, Other revenues are expected to increase approximately 5%. NYT's operating costs are expected to increase approximately 18% to 20% compared with the third quarter of 2020 as the company continues to invest into the drivers of digital subscription growth and comp against another quarter of low spending last year.
The price of the digital-only subscription to the main news product every four weeks increased to $17, from $15, the company mentioned during the Q1 2020 report. It is the first increase in the digital subscription price since The Times decided to charge readers for online content in 2011. The company set a new goal last year to reach 10 million subscriptions by 2025.
The surge in the newspaper's subscriptions is largely believed to be driven by the political climate in the U.S. NYT has likely gained subscribers driven by the publicity and controversy surrounding President Trump's tenure, as he has been highly critical of the newspaper and has attacked it several times on Twitter, calling it "failing" and criticizing its coverage. In fact, NYT benefited from the "Trump Bump" and grew its digital paid subscriptions for the entire Trump presidency. In addition, some consumers could have turned to the Times due to the increase in circulation of "fake news," as the Times is considered one of the most trusted news outlets in the U.S., according to a Pew Research survey. This brand recognition and trust could provide NYT an opportunity to grow its readership further in the coming quarters as well.
The New York Times Co. (NYT) is a media company primarily in the newspaper business. It owns the New York Times, and in the first half of 2014 was able to sell New England Media Group, thus completing the disinvestment process. Currently, the company makes money through advertising in its print newspapers, online advertising, and newspaper circulation fees. In 2011, the company launched its paid subscription service for NYTimes.com, which added an additional revenue stream of digital circulation. The company’s digital-only subscription products include News product, as well as its Crossword and Cooking products
Online media provides more abundantly available information, that too at a faster rate and cheaper prices when compared to print media. This has effectively rendered print newspapers obsolete, and online reading is made further easy by tablets/smartphones, both physical circulation and print advertising within newspapers would see a decline going forward.
The print advertising declined to $164 million from $270 million in 2020, a 39% decrease year-over-year. The decrease in print advertising revenues resulted from a continued decline in display advertising, primarily in the luxury and entertainment categories. Although print advertising revenue represents around 42% of its total advertising revenue, the overall proportion continues to decline. The increased popularity of digital media among consumers, particularly as a source for news and other content has driven a corresponding shift in demand from print advertising to digital advertising.
Social networking leader Facebook has initiated a unique concept of "frictionless sharing" through their Open Graph tools, which enables publishers to instantly get their articles/content shared across a user's network of friends. Various media companies like Yahoo! and Washington Post have adopted the Open Graph to increase user engagement, and we expect more websites to join the bandwagon if they are to increase both web traffic and user engagement. Additionally, the growing penetration and bandwidth capabilities of smartphones and tablets would play a major role in increasing traffic and viewership for media companies. NYT has also made headway in this segment by releasing smartphone and tablet-specific apps.