New York Times Co., which in May ousted its executive editor, missed second-quarter profit estimates as advertising sales continued to decline.
Ad revenue fell 4.1 percent to $156.3 million, the New York-based company said in a statement. Earnings, excluding some items, were 7 cents a share, falling short of the 8 cents projected by analysts, according to the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Jill Abramson, the first female executive editor of the Times, was fired as the publication — along with most news organizations — struggles to find footing in digital media, where ad rates are far cheaper than in print. In the first quarter, Times Co. reported its first rise in ad sales in more than three years — an increase that Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson warned may not continue.
Second-quarter revenue shrank less than 1 percent to $388.7 million, compared with the average estimate of $390.5 million. Circulation sales rose 1.4 percent to $209.8 million.
When Chairman and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger dismissed Abramson more than two months ago, he said she had publicly mistreated colleagues and failed to properly communicate her management decisions. He denied that gender bias played any role in the dismissal following reports Abramson had confronted Sulzberger after she reportedly discovered that she was paid less than her male predecessor.
Dean Baquet, who took over for Abramson, is trying to find a way to better negotiate the paper’s business interests as digital initiatives continue to encroach deeper into editorial terrain. Abramson had chafed at the introduction of native ads, the marketing messages crafted to resemble news articles.
Those messages have nonetheless helped temper declines in the Times’ ad revenue, and the publisher’s online subscription plan, started in 2011, has helped spur circulation sales growth.
CEO Thompson has worked to extend the Times’ paying readership by creating packages of news coverage at different prices, including a new limited plan called NYT Now that costs $8 a month, as well as a higher-end plan called Times Premier.
The company added 32,000 digital-only subscribers to reach 831,000, up from the 799,000 customers at the end of March.
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