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The New York Times hits 10 million subscribers

The New York Times hit 10 million subscribers during the last quarter, the company announced Wednesday.

During the quarter ending Sept. 30, the Times added 210,000 net digital-only subscribers and made a profit of $53.6 million, up 46.6% year-over-year. The company aims to have 15 million total subscribers by the end of 2027.

President and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien attributed the Times’ growth during the quarter to its “bundle” strategy. That entails pushing people to subscribe to a bundle of the company’s journalism offerings including, Wirecutter and The Athletic, as well as its Games and Cooking verticals. The company has also found success in transitioning bundle subscribers from promotional to higher prices in the last quarter. The Times currently offers a $1-per-week all access digital subscription that increases after six months.

“We expect at least half of our subscribers over the next few years to be on the bundle,” Kopit Levien told investors on an earnings call Wednesday. “That matters because bundle subscribers engage more, stay longer and monetize better than subscribers to any individual product.”

Of the company’s 9.41 million digital-only subscribers, roughly 3.79 million subscribe to more than one product.

The Times grew its total revenue 9.3% year-over-year to $598.3 million. Despite a difficult advertising market — driven in part by large tech platforms like Google and Facebook sending fewer readers to news publishers — the Times saw higher than expected growth in advertising revenue, in part due to The Athletic. The sports website grew its total revenue 45.8% year-over-year to $34.4 million.

The Times bought The Athletic for $550 million in January 2022 and has since eliminated its own sports department in favor of The Athletic’s coverage. Though The Athletic has operated at a loss since its acquisition, it showed improvement in the most recent quarter, reporting an adjusted operating loss of $7.9 million, a decrease of 34.5% year-over-year.

The Times is working to raise the visibility of The Athletic and to improve the digital product, Kopit Levien said.

“I think the biggest opportunity at The Athletic is just to get many more people to know it exists and to read it and to engage with it,” she said.

Engagement with The New York Times, measured by the percent of subscribers on its website and apps each week, hit its highest level in nearly three years during the third quarter, Kopit Levien said. She called the milestone a testament to the company’s journalism. Earlier in the earnings call, she noted that the world is undergoing a “deeply troubling and complex” period, especially with the Israel-Hamas war: “In this difficult moment, the Times plays a vital role.”

By noon Wednesday, New York Times stock was roughly $44.87 a share, up 7.86% since Tuesday’s close.

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