The New York Times added 2.3 million digital-only subscriptions in 2020, bringing its total sub base for both print and digital products to 7.5 million.
The spike reflects avid interest by readers in news during the tumultuous year, including stories covering the pandemic and the election, the Times reports in a story. And it positions the Times to pull in 10 million subscriptions by 2025.
“In 2020, we reached two key milestones, both of which we expect to be enduring: Digital revenue overtook print for the first time, and digital subscription revenue, long our fastest-growing revenue stream, is also now our largest,” states Meredith Kopit Levien, CEO for the company.
The Times added 600,000 digital subscriptions in April and around 627,000 in the fourth quarter.
Digital subscription revenue totaled $167 million in the fourth quarter, a 37% increase over the same period in 2019.
However, Q4 ad sales declined by 26% to $394.2 million compared to the prior year.
Digital sales dropped by 2% to $90.1 million. But print ad sales, hit by the pandemic and other trends, fell by 38% to $49.1 million.
Overall, Q4 revenue totaled $509.4 million, a 0.2% increase YoY. And adjusted operating profit rose by 1.4% to hit $977 million during the fourth quarter. Adjusted operating profit for the year came in at $250.6 million, reflecting a 0.9% increase.
The Times projects a 15% increase in subscription revenue in this quarter YoY, and a 35% to 40% rise in digital sub revenue.
But ad revenue is forecast to fall by a little less than 20%, the report adds.
In another development, the newspaper is increasing dividend payments to 7 cents per share, up from 6 cents. This will total $46.8 million a year, which will benefit the Ochs-Sulzberger family that controls the paper, the story states.