The New York Times Co reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue on Thursday as it cut costs while continuing its push into digital content.
The company said its operating costs fell 7.7% to $352.7mn in the last three months of the year, the fourth quarter in a row that it has cut expenses.
Costs fell mainly due to improved print production and distribution as well as declines in severance, depreciation and raw materials costs, the Times said.
However, the company said it expected operating costs to rise by a low single-digit percentage in the current quarter.
Digital advertising revenue rose 10.6% to $69.9mn, offsetting a 6.6% decline in print advertising revenue. The company did not provide details of print advertising revenue or circulation in the quarter.
Circulation revenue from digital-only subscription products rose 13.3% to $50.4mn as the Times added 53,000 paid subscribers to its digital-only subscription products, bringing total subscribers to about 1.1mn.
The Times said in October that it aimed to double annual digital revenue to $800mn by 2020, with a focus on winning over more smartphone users.
The company has been trying to popularise its digital content globally by investing in marketing and taking steps such as allowing subscribers to pay in local currencies.
Newspaper and magazine publishers are struggling to replace an evaporating pool of print advertising dollars with digital ads and money from subscriptions.
The New York Times said its net income attributable to shareholders from continuing operations rose to $51.7mn, or 31 cents per share, from $34.9mn, or 22 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 37 cents per share, well above the average analyst estimate of 30 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The company has now beaten profit estimates for five quarters.
Total revenue was flat at $444.7mn but exceeded the average analyst estimate of $439.6mn.
Up to Wednesday's close of $12.77, the company's shares had fallen about 7% in the past 12 months.
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