The New York Occasions Firm reached its purpose of 10 million subscriptions forward of schedule, the corporate stated Wednesday, aided considerably by the 1.2 million it gained by shopping for the sports activities information web site The Athletic.
The $550 million deal for The Athletic, which was introduced final month, was accomplished on Tuesday, the corporate stated.
Within the closing three months of 2021, earlier than the Athletic acquisition, The Occasions added 375,000 digital subscriptions, the corporate stated in its quarterly earnings report. These additions included 171,000 to its core information product, that means the bulk had been for The Occasions’s different digital choices: Video games, which incorporates crosswords; Cooking, its recipes app; Wirecutter, its product-recommendation website; and Audm, which produces audio variations of text-based journalism.
By the final week of December, The Occasions had virtually 8.8 million subscriptions. Practically 5.9 million had been for digital information, greater than two million had been for the opposite digital merchandise, and a shade underneath 800,000 had been for the print newspaper.
The Occasions additionally introduced a brand new purpose on Wednesday: It would goal, it stated, to have at the very least 15 million subscribers by the top of 2027.
One subscriber could account for multiple subscription. The subscriber metric, which can be included in The Occasions’s subsequent earnings report, displays the corporate’s want to market a bundle of a number of digital subscriptions as a one-stop store not just for information however for different diversions and desires. On the finish of final yr, the corporate stated, The Occasions had about 7.6 million subscribers paying for the 8.8 million subscriptions.
Meredith Kopit Levien, the corporate’s president and chief government, stated in an announcement that The Occasions’s executives believed there have been “at the very least 135 million” potential subscribers in the US and world wide — adults “paying or keen to pay for a number of subscriptions to English-language information, sports activities protection, puzzles, recipes or professional purchasing recommendation.”
The Occasions established its earlier purpose, 10 million subscriptions by 2025, three years in the past, when it had 4.3 million. As subscriptions to The Occasions’s core digital information app continued to develop, and as Video games and Cooking every amassed multiple million subscriptions, it grew to become obvious the corporate would surpass the purpose early.
Then, final month, The Occasions stated it could purchase The Athletic, whose 400 journalists cowl greater than 200 sports activities groups in the US and Europe, in an all-cash deal value $550 million. The Occasions stated Wednesday that the deal had been financed by “money readily available,” that means with out borrowing cash.
Along with closing on The Athletic, The Occasions stated this week that it was buying the viral on-line puzzle Wordle, which can be added to the Video games app (and stay free, at the very least initially).
For the fourth quarter of 2021, the corporate reported adjusted working revenue of $109.3 million, a 12 % enhance from a yr earlier, and income of $594.2 million, a 16.7 % rise. Working prices rose at nearly the identical fee, to $500.1 million. Subscription income rose about 11 %, to $351.2 million.
For the yr, income grew 16.3 %, to $2.1 billion — making 2021 The Occasions’s first $2 billion yr since 2012. Working prices had been up 12.2 %, to $1.8 billion. Whereas subscription income grew 13.9 %, to $1.4 billion, the yr additionally represented a rebound for promoting, the place income grew to $497.5 million, a 26.8 % enhance from 2020, although nonetheless 6.2 % lower than it introduced in earlier than the pandemic, in 2019.
The corporate stated it anticipated subscription income to extend 11 to fifteen % within the present quarter, which incorporates two months with The Athletic as a part of the corporate. The Occasions added that it anticipated digital subscription income to rise 23 to twenty-eight % and advert income to realize 17 to 21 %. Prices will rise 18 to 22 %, the corporate stated.
The corporate’s board of administrators raised the dividend 2 cents per share, to 9 cents, and approved a $150 million inventory repurchase, the corporate stated. Whereas the buyback will have an effect on solely Class A shares, which can be found to the general public, the dividend will apply each to these shares and to Class B shares, that are primarily owned by the Ochs-Sulzberger household that controls The Occasions.