By Christopher B. Daly
Contrary to what President Trump says, the New York Times is thriving — not just in terms of its original, fact-based reporting but the company (and just as importantly) is also thriving in terms of its business. The Times is growing and profitable. The Times has found enough digital subscribers to carry it far into the future.
The Times, which may be the country’s most im-
portant journalistic institution, is enjoying a “virtuous circle” of professional and business success in which each type of success reinforces the other.
Great reporting –> more readers –> more subscriptions –> more money –> more great reporting –>
How do we know this? From the sworn, audited statements that the NYTCo is obligated, by law, to divulge to stockholders and other investors every quarter. Let’s look at some highlights from the company’s latest quarterly report:
–The paper set a record of more than 4 million total subscribers worldwide. They are in every country and continent (including Antarctica!).
–That number includes a more important record: more than 3 million subscribers who pay for a digital-only subscription. This is important because those people are probably going to be around a lot longer than then 1 million or so subscribers to the print edition. Not only that, but the digital-only subscribers are customers who can be reached by the Times virtually for free. To reach them, the newspaper does not have to buy newsprint, operate giant printing presses, and pay for fleets of delivery trucks.
–The growth in digital subscriptions is accelerating. The paper reported a net increase in the most recent quarter of more than 200,000 — the best quarter since the “Trump bump” in the period right after the 2016 election.
–Digital revenue (the money the paper gets from all those digital subscriptions) is also rising. In the last nine months, it topped $450 million — or over $600 million a year, which is probably plenty of money to operate the Times newsroom indefinitely.
—Profits are up. Operating profits rose 30 percent in the last quarter to reach $41.4 million — or, well over $160 million a year.
–The stock price is up.
Since Trump was elected in late 2016, the value of a share of Class A NYTCo stock has more than doubled.
At the Times, the business desk buries these stories, and the editors absolutely refuse to celebrate their good news or do anything resembling spiking the football in the end zone. But any way you look at it, the New York Times is not failing.