For the first time in its nearly 170-year history, the New York Times made more money from digital products than it did from its print newspaper during a three-month quarterly earnings period, the Times announced Wednesday.
Why it matters: It's a huge milestone for The Gray Lady, which six years ago published a digital "Innovation Report" that detailed the paper's shortcomings in adjusting its business to embrace the digital world.
By the numbers: The Times made $185.5 million in revenue from digital products — both digital subscriptions and ads — during the second quarter, compared to $175.4 million in print revenue.
- It also added 669,000 net new digital subscribers, its largest quarterly subscriber gain ever. The Times now has over 6.5 million subscribers, the vast majority of which are digital-only subscribers.
Be smart: While digital news products have become widely accepted by consumers in the past few years, they've often been harder to monetize because digital advertising margins are much lower than print advertising margins.
- For example, a typical New York Times digital banner ad costs $19.99 for every 1,000 impressions, or eyeballs that the ad is served to. A typical print ad costs well over $100 for every 1,000 impressions.
The big picture: To offset that imbalance, the Times has pushed aggressively to accrue digital subscribers. Last quarter, the Times reported a record number of new subscriptions and said it finally hit its years-long goal of making $800,000 in annual digital revenue.
Between the lines: The Times has been investing in new digital products and talent that it hopes can help propel the company's digital evolution even further.
- The paper recently named COO Meredith Kopit Levien as its new CEO come September, replacing Mark Thompson.
- Levien said in an interview with Axios last month that her goal is to help establish the Times as a world-class digital and tech company.
- Last October, the Times hired former Times product veteran Alex Hardiman as the company's head of product, reporting to Levien.
- The paper announced last month that it is acquiring Serial Productions, the maker of the hit true-crime podcast "Serial," in an effort to bolster its audio ambitions. It recently added a set of new staffers to help translate its Opinion journalism into audio.
- The Times has also doubled down on its TV and film ambitions to help market its products to new digital subscribers.
Yes, but: The company hasn't been immune to the advertising headwinds that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
- In June, the Times said in an internal memo that it was laying off 68 members of its staff, mostly within its advertising division.
- Many media companies have announced layoffs, furloughs and cuts to salaries and benefits as a result of the advertising market collapse.