What happened

Shares of The New York Times (NYSE:NYT) jumped sharply on Thursday, following the company's fourth-quarter earnings release. The newspaper stock rose as much as 15.8%, and is up 13.1% at the time of this writing.

Investors in The New York Times were likely pleased with the company's higher-than-expected revenue and profit. It reported revenue and non-GAAP earnings per share of $484 million and $0.39, respectively. On average, analysts were expecting revenue of $467 million and non-GAAP EPS of $0.29.

A man looking at his smartphone in the back of a taxi

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Highlighting the company's strong growth, revenue and adjusted EPS climbed 10% and 30%, respectively.

The New York Times did benefit from an extra week during the quarter. But even excluding that week, revenue still increased 3.5% year over year.

Growth was fueled by a 19.2% year over year increase in subscription revenue (11% when excluding the benefit of the quarter's extra week), which helped offset a 1.3% decrease in advertising revenue.

"Subscription revenues in the fourth quarter of 2017 rose primarily due to significant growth in recent quarters in the number of subscriptions to the Company's digital-only products," management said. Revenue from digital-only subscription products was up 51.2% year over year, hitting $96.3 million.

Now what

In the first quarter of 2018, The New York Times said it expects strong subscription revenue growth to persist, rising in the mid- to high single digits compared to the first quarter of 2017.

Longer-term, CEO Mark Thompson was optimistic: "We believe there remains a large opportunity to continue to extend our subscription reach and will continue to invest in areas of the business that will allow us to achieve that growth."