Times closes 2019 with profit, lifts subscription prices

NEW YORK, Feb 7: The New York Times said Thursday it closed the books for 2019 with higher profits as it unveiled plans to boost the cost of digital subscriptions which are seen as a key to the newspaper’s future.
Profits rose 24 percent in the fourth quarter to $68 million and the company posted net income of $140 million for the year.
Overall revenue rose one percent in the quarter to $508 million and to $1.8 billion for the year.
Chief executive Mark Thompson said the group would be increasing the price of digital subscriptions for the first time since 2011 when it launched its paywall.
He added that the paper’s subscribers know their fees play an essential role in maintaining the “quality, breadth and depth” of the output.
The cost of a basic digital subscription for four weeks will rise to $17 from $15, the company said.
At the end of the year the prestigious daily had some 5.25 million subscribers across digital and print, including more than four million digital-only customers.
The Times added some 342,000 net digital-only subscriptions in the fourth quarter including 232,000 for the core news service, along with gains for its crossword and cooking products.
The Times has been making slow progress as it shifts to a digital model in which a majority of revenues come from subscribers but it has maintained what is believed to be the largest news staff in the United States. (AGENCIES)