Tribune Publishing Company and The New York Times Company released third-quarter earnings reports this week.
For Tribune, digital-only subscriber revenue increased 67.4%, or $5.1 million year-over-year, for its third quarter ending September 27, 2020.
Digital subscribers grew to 427,000 at the end of the Q3 2020, compared to 314,000 at the end of Q3 2019.
Total revenues for Tribune Publishing were $188.7 million, down from $236 million in Q3 2019, about a 20% dip.
Digital content revenues increased 67% year-over-year.
“We have made significant progress mitigating the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the company through aggressive cost discipline and deep focus on our transition to digital,” stated Terry Jimenez, Tribune Publishing CEO and president.
“As a result, we increased net income from continuing operations by 24% and improved adjusted EBITDA by 10% over the prior year quarter despite significant pandemic-related revenue headwinds.”
Advertising revenues decreased 38.2%, or $35.6 million, in Q3 2020, compared to the same period for 2019, due to declines in all advertising categories.
Circulation revenues decreased 2.5%, or $2.3 million.
Jimenez added: “We remain cautious about the continuing impact and duration of the pandemic and accordingly, we persist in our efforts to reduce our cost structure, particularly our fixed costs, including real estate and other infrastructure.”
Separately, The New York Times Company said higher digital-only subscription revenues and lower costs offset lower advertising revenues in the third quarter of 2020.
Operating profit increased to $39.6 million, from $25.1 million in Q3 2019.
Total operating costs decreased 3.5% in the third quarter of 2020 to $387.3 million, compared with $401.5 million in the third quarter of 2019.
Adjusted operating costs decreased 3.7% to $370.4 million, from $384.4 million in Q3 2019.
For the second quarter in a row, total digital revenue exceeded print revenue, according to Meredith Kopit Levien, president and CEO of The New York Times Company.
Digital advertising revenue was $47.8 million, or 60.3% of the company's total advertising revenues, compared with $54.7 million, or 48.1%, in Q3 2019.
"For the first time, total digital-only subscription revenue exceeded print subscription revenue, making digital-only subscriptions not just the central engine of the Company’s growth, but on its way to being our largest revenue stream," she said.
Advertising revenues decreased 30.2% to $79.3 million.
Digital advertising revenue decreased 12.6%, while print advertising revenue decreased 46.5%.
Print subscription revenues decreased 3.8% to $145.7 million, largely due to lower retail newsstand revenue, according to the company.
The New York Times Company ended the quarter with roughly 6.9 million total subscriptions.
Kopit Levien says the company crossed the 7 million mark in October, “an increase of 2 million digital-only subscriptions over the last year and 393,000 over the last quarter.”
Of the 393,000 total net additions, 275,000 came from the company's digital news product, while 118,000 came from its Cooking, Games (formerly Crossword) and audio products.
Subscription revenues increased 12.6% to $301 million, due to growth in those digital-only product subscriptions. Revenue from digital-only products increased 34%, to $155.3 million.
Total revenues for the third quarter of 2020 decreased 0.4% to $426.9 million, from $428.5 million in Q3 2019.