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The New York Times reported its Q4 earnings, revealing a decline in advertising sales and an uncertain outlook for the first quarter of 2024. The company experienced an 8.4% decrease in ad revenue compared to the previous year, and digital ad sales fell by 3.7%. The decline in digital performance was attributed to advertisers avoiding hard news topics. However, despite the challenges in advertising, the Times saw growth in subscription revenue, with digital-only subscription revenues increasing by 7.2%.
"We continue to experience limited visibility in the advertising market," CFO William Bardeen said in a call with shareholders on Wednesday morning.
In addition to the decline in revenue, the Times cited several factors such as declines in podcast and creative services revenue and the fewer number of days in Q4 2023 compared to the previous year. The company is focused on expanding its subscriber base, with a goal of reaching 15 million subscribers by 2027. Overall, the Times' total revenue was flat compared to Q4 2022, but its adjusted operating profit increased by 8.5%.
"Our digital performance, including podcasts, was impacted by marketers avoiding some hard news topics like the Middle East conflict," said Times CEO Meredith Kopit Levien.