The New York Times now has more subscribers than at any time in the newspaper’s history.
The newspaper announced the milestone Thursday along with its third quarter earnings results. It now has 4 million total subscribers, with about 3 million of those subscribers receiving the digital only edition.
“We’re investing aggressively in our journalism, product and marketing and are seeing tangible results in our digital growth,” said Mark Thompson, president and CEO of The New York Times Company (NYT), in an earnings release. He said the company now has at least one reader from every member country of the United Nations, and Antarctica.
The Times added 203,000 total net digital subscriptions in the most recent quarter — its highest since the first quarter of 2017, when the paper racked up 308,000 net digital subscribers. At that time, the paper’s editors and executives cited curiosity and concern about the Trump administration as one of the reasons for the subscriber gains.
Most of the new subscribers last quarter signed up for news from The Times. About 60,000 subscribed to the company’s cooking and crossword sections.
Times executives attributed the influx to several events, including what they call an “electrifying” news cycle and a heavily discounted introductory promotion for new subscribers. During a conference call for investors, Thompson cited the hearings surrounding Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court and the anonymous op-ed the paper published from a senior Trump administration official as contributing factors.
The most “significant driver” was likely a $1-a-week offer that The Times ran for six weeks in the US during the quarter, said Meredith Kopit Levien, the company’s executive vice president and COO.
Thompson said The Times will continue experimenting with ways to attract more subscribers, adding that the company has “a skill to accelerate subscriber growth.” He pointed to a new marketing campaign launched this week called “The Truth is Worth It,” which features reporting from its journalists. One ad focuses on the paper’s 18-month investigation into the Trump family’s wealth and finances.
The company said operating profit rose to $41.4 million last quarter, compared to $31.8 million during the same period a year before. It attributed that growth to digital subscriptions and advertising.
While print advertising revenue declined, Thompson said the loss was less than 1% year-over-year. Overall advertising revenue increased by 7% counting the gains in digital.
Shares of The Times stock were trading up nearly 8% by midday.