The New York Times Company’s Q1 digital ad revenues up by 11%

The New York Times Company has announced adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $.11 in the first quarter of 2015 compared with $.07 in the first quarter of 2014.

There was a first-quarter 2015 diluted loss per share from continuing operations of $.09 compared with diluted earnings per share of $.02 in the same period of 2014.

Adjusted operating profit (defined below) grew to $59.2 million in the first quarter of 2015 from $56.6 million in the first quarter of 2014, as broad cost reductions more than offset a decline in revenues. There was an operating loss of $11.1 million in the first quarter of 2015 compared with an operating profit of $22.1 million in the same period of 2014, driven by special pension charges in this year’s first quarter.

“We got off to a solid start in early 2015, as our Company maintained its digital momentum,” said Mark Thompson , president and chief executive officer. “We increased our digital subscriber count by 47,000 in the first quarter, more than in any quarter over the past two years, bringing us to a total of 957,000 paid digital subscribers. The strong digital consumer growth in the first quarter was largely attributable to improved retention and higher traffic to the website, partially as a result of our recent audience development efforts.

“We also saw digital advertising revenue continue to expand at the double-digit pace that began in the second half of last year, ending up 11 percent in the first quarter, driven by growth across mobile, Paid Posts and video.

“Adjusted operating profit also grew in the quarter, as broad cost reductions more than offset an overall revenue decline driven by print advertising. While we will continue to make digital investments to fuel our Company’s growth, cost management will remain a key focus in 2015.

“In recent weeks, I have made two significant appointments intended to simplify the structure of our executive team and drive results. Kinsey Wilson, who joined the company in February as editor for strategy and innovation, adds responsibility for product development and technology across the company as executive vice president, product and technology. Kinsey has both deep roots in journalism and a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities surrounding product monetization. And Meredith Kopit Levien , who has already transformed our advertising group, is adding responsibility for our consumer business and becomes chief revenue officer. Unifying advertising and marketing under Meredith’s leadership will allow us to more effectively accelerate the progress of both groups.”

Unless otherwise noted, all comparisons are for the first quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2014. Discontinued operations in 2014 include the results of New England Media Group (NEMG), which was sold in 2013.

This release presents certain non-GAAP financial measures, including diluted earnings per share from continuing operations excluding severance, non-operating retirement costs and special items (or adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations); operating profit before depreciation, amortization, severance, non-operating retirement costs and special items (or adjusted operating profit); and operating costs before depreciation, amortization, severance and non-operating retirement costs (or adjusted operating costs). The exhibits include a discussion of management’s reasons for the presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures and reconciliations to the most comparable GAAP financial measures, as well as an explanation of non-operating retirement costs.

  • First-quarter 2015 results included the following special items:A $40.3 million ($24.0 million after tax or $.15 per share) pension settlement charge in connection with a lump-sum payment offer to certain former employees. These lump-sum payments were made with cash from The New York Times Companies Pension Plan, not with Company cash.
  • A $4.7 million ($2.8 million after tax or $.02 per share) charge for a partial withdrawal obligation under a multiemployer pension plan.
  • First-quarter 2014 results included the following special item:
    A $2.6 million ($1.5 million after tax or $.01 per share) charge for the early termination of a distribution agreement, resulting in distribution cost savings for the Company.
  • The Company had severance costs of $1.5 million ($0.9 million after tax or $.01 per share) and $3.1 million ($1.8 million after tax or $.01 per share) in the first quarters of 2015 and 2014, respectively.

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