NYT's Q1 Earnings: Digital Advertising Grows 4.5%, 100,000+ Paid Digital Subscribers

The New York Times Company this morning reported Q1 2011 earnings per share of $.04, compared with $.08 in the same period of 2010.

Total revenues decreased 3.6 percent to $566.5 million from $587.9 million. The publisher’s operating profit came in at $31.1 million for the quarter, compared with $52.7 million in the same period of 2010.

Approximately three weeks after the global launch of its digital subscription packages, The New York Times Company reports paid digital subscribers have surpassed 100,000, although it cautions that it does not yet have visibility into conversion and retention rates for these paying customers after the initial promotional period.

The NYT’s digital subscription packages were first introduced in Canada last month and globally at the beginning of the second quarter.

Back to the earnings report: NYT’s digital advertising grew 4.5 percent, but it was unable to fully offset the 7.5 percent decline in print advertising revenues in the first quarter.

In the first quarter, total digital revenues increased 6.1 percent to $95.9 million from $90.4 million. Digital businesses include NYTimes.com, About.com, Boston.com, other websites and related digital products. The NYT apparently sold a portion of its stake in job listing aggregator Indeed.com, netting $5.9 million ($3.4 million after taxes).

Digital advertising revenues as a percentage of total advertising revenues were 28 percent for the first quarter of 2011, compared with 25.6 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

Circulation revenues, meanwhile dropped 3.7 percent in the first quarter of the year due to a decline in copies sold across the News Media Group.