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A Foolish Take: The Failing New York Times?

By John Maxfield - Jul 31, 2017 at 12:00PM

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Profits at The Gray Lady have soared recently.

There's an irony in President Donald Trump's attacks on the media, and The New York Times (NYT -0.07%) in particular. He refers to it as the "failing New York Times," yet his presidency could actually be the paper's saving grace.

The week before the presidential election, the Times reported an 8% decline in advertising revenue for the third quarter of 2016. In the paper's own words, it was an "anxious and challenging time for the newspaper industry."

But fast-forward to today, and the Times' fortunes have improved dramatically. Digital news subscriptions grew 67% in the second quarter compared to the year-ago period.

Graph showing growth of digital-only subscriptions at NYTimes

Data source: The New York Times. Chart by author.

And profits followed. Excluding one-time charges, the company earned $67.1 million in operating profit in the quarter versus $54.5 million in the same quarter last year, "principally driven by very strong digital revenues," according to the Q2 press release.

"We saw a significant increase in the number of paid digital-only subscriptions to our news products following the 2016 presidential election," noted the Times in a regulatory filing earlier this year. "Given that this increase occurred late in 2016, the revenue generated from these subscriptions is expected to be reflected more fully in 2017."

Another quarter like this, and Trump might have to come up with a new nickname for the nation's paper of record.

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John Maxfield has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends The New York Times. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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