In a tough environment for journalism, The New York Times Company continued to post significant subscriber growth, propelling the company to a healthy 2017.
The company said on Thursday that it added 157,000 net digital-only subscriptions in the fourth quarter of the year, pushing overall subscription revenue to more than $1 billion for the year. Subscription revenue now accounts for 60 percent of the company’s total revenue. Subscription revenue in the quarter rose 19 percent.
Total revenue for the year increased 8 percent, to $1.7 billion, and 10 percent in the fourth quarter, to $484 million. Adjusted operating profit rose to $108 million for the quarter, compared with $96 million for the same period a year earlier. Operating profit fell to $23 million for the quarter, from $56 million, in part because of pension-settlement charges and higher operating costs.
“We’re pleased with the continued rate of growth and particularly pleased to be seeing strong retention from the large group of new subscribers who came to The Times late last year,” Mark Thompson, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement, referring to the growth in subscriptions that The New York Times recorded around the 2016 presidential election.
The Times Company has more than 2.6 million digital-only subscriptions. Digital-only subscription revenue increased 46 percent in 2017, to $340 million, and 51 percent for the quarter, to $96 million.
Digital advertising revenue increased 14 percent last year, to $238 million. In the last three months of the year, digital advertising revenue rose 9 percent, to $84 million.
With more than $600 million in digital revenue in 2017, the company drew closer to reaching its goal of $800 million by 2020.
The Times, however, continued to face challenges in print advertising. In 2017, print advertising revenue fell 14 percent, to $320 million. Print advertising revenue for the fourth quarter dropped 8 percent, to $98 million. The company said its overall ad revenue for the year fell 4 percent, to $559 million. Ad revenue for the quarter dropped 1 percent.
Adjusted operating costs rose to $376 million for the quarter, from $344 million.
The last quarter of 2017 was marked by significant change at the newspaper. The former publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said he was passing the leadership reins to his son, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger. The company also continued renovations to its newsroom, with its editorial employees now consolidated on fewer floors.