Digital subscription revenue helped The New York Times offset lower print advertising and subscription sales during Q1, the paper announced on Wednesday. Digital advertising also helped, to a lesser extent.
The publisher achieved a 6.6% hike in Q1 revenue to $473 million YoY. Subscription revenue rose by 15.3% to $329.1 million, but ad revenue fell by 8.5% to $97.1 million, and other revenue decreased by 10% to $46.8 million.
“Total digital subscription revenue grew by 38%, and we added 301,000 net new digital subscriptions across News, Cooking, Games and Audm, with 167,000 net new digital News subscriptions,” states Meredith Kopit Levien, president and chief executive officer, The New York Times Company.
At the same time, print subscription revenues fell by 3.8% to $149.5 million, largely because of lower single-copy and bulk sales. However, revenue from domestic home delivery subscriptions grew by 0.5%.
The publisher achieved adjusted operating profit of $68.1 million, versus $44.3 million in the prior year.
Sales and marketing costs decreased 18.5% to $60.2 million, mostly due to lower subscription-related media expenses and ad sales costs. But product development costs rose by 25.6% to $38.9 million, and general and administration costs by 7% $52.9 million during the quarter.
Looking toward Q2, the Times expects a 15% increase in total subscription revenues, with digital-only rising by 30%.
Ad revenues are forecast to rise by 55% to 60% YoY, with digital ad sales rising by 70% to 75%. This result would reflect weak ad revenues in Q2 2020 caused by the impact of the pandemic.