The Times reported a net loss for shareholders of $211,000, compared with a profit of $16 million in the same period a year ago. Overall revenues edged up three percent to $219 million, but ad revenues slid 11.7 percent to $131 million.
Print advertising revenue fell 14.1 percent while digital advertising revenue decreased 6.8 percent, underscoring the challenges for the newspaper’s efforts to emphasize its digital edition.
Circulation revenues were a bright spot, led by a 15 percent jump in digital-only subscriptions.
“We once again saw a robust quarter in terms of digital subscriber growth, with 51,000 net paid digital-only subscriptions to our news products added in the second quarter and growth of 22 percent year-over-year,” said chief executive Mark Thompson.
“Much of our success in building our digital pay model is the result of a renewed effort to clearly communicate the value of Times journalism and our products through mission-related, native messaging to an expanding number of highly engaged readers.”
Thompson noted, however, that “advertising was tougher in the quarter, particularly on the print side.”
In digital, the newspaper saw strong growth in mobile, video and virtual reality, branded content and programmatic advertising, but “these were not enough to offset declines in traditional web display,” he said.
“However, we expect that situation to improve in the second half of the year; in fact, we are already seeing a marked turnaround in July. We expect to deliver strong revenue growth from both digital advertising and our digital consumer business in the third quarter.”
The efforts by the Times are being closely watched as it struggles to gain traction against digital-only news outlets while maintaining its print editions and the largest newsroom staff of any US daily.
The Times in May said it was offering voluntary buyouts to reduce its newsroom staff of 1,300, but not planning any layoffs.
That was part of the company’s “strategic” initiative announced earlier this year to trim costs while maintaining its news operations and expanding to reach more global readers.