The New York Times Co. announced that total revenues increased 5.2% from $547 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 to almost $576 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, reflecting increased circulation revenues from digital subscriptions at its flagship newspaper.
Total circ revenues jumped 16% in the fourth quarter, from $222 million to $258 million. Advertising
revenues fell 3.1% from $289 million to $280 million.
Digital subscriptions, introduced for the first time in March 2011, also helped lift results for 2012. Total revenues for the year increased 1.9% from $1.95 billion in 2011 to $1.99 billion in 2012, powered by a 10.4% increase in circulation revenues, from $863 million to $953 million.
Full-year advertising revenues
slumped 5.9% from $954 million to $898 million.
The total number of digital subscriptions sold by NYTCO for its various papers -- including The New York Times, Boston Globe and International Herald Tribune -- came to 668,000 at the end of the fourth quarter, up 13% from around 591,000 at the end of the third quarter, according to NYTCO President and CEO Mark Thompson.
Additional positive details about the digital subs push were revealed by Rick Edmonds at Poynter.org. He determined that around 65% of the digital subscribers are new customers for NYTCO -- people who had not previously subscribed to the print version of its newspapers. That number is similar to the proportion of new customers reported by Gannett for its digital subscriptions.
On the advertising front, digital advertising revenues of $69 million represented 24.7% of NYTCO’s total advertising revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012 -- up from $65.7 million, representing 22.7% of total ad revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2011. For the full year, digital ad revenues were essentially flat at $214.8 million in 2012, up 0.2% from $214.5 million in 2011.
As in previous years, declines were spread across all the major newspaper advertising categories. National advertising revenues fell 3.4% in the fourth quarter, to $190.7 million, while retail slipped 2.9% to $52.6 million, and classifieds dropped 3.4% to $29.3 million. Within the classifieds category, help wanted was down 4% in the fourth quarter and real estate 10.9%, while automotive increased 9.4%
In the near future, NYTCO expects circulation revenues to rise by mid-single digits in percentage terms in the first quarter of 2013, suggesting that growth in digital subscription revenues may be slowing.