May 6, 2020 - Economy & Business

NYT reports record new subscriptions, warns of major ad losses

Data: NYT earnings reports; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The New York Times said during its earnings report on Wednesday that it saw more than a half-million new subscribers — roughly double the amount of net new subscriptions that it typically sees in any given quarter.

Why it matters: Despite the fact that more people are hungry for news, news companies like The Times are struggling to bring in ad revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The Times said that it expects its ad revenue to be down roughly 50% next quarter from the same time last year.

What they're saying: “The Times’s business model, with its growing focus on digital subscription growth and diminishing reliance on advertising, is very well positioned to ride out this storm and thrive in a post-pandemic world," CEO Mark Thompson said in a letter to shareholders.

  • "We’ve seen historic audience levels and an unprecedented rate of subscriber growth as well as real pressure on advertising revenue."

The big picture: Top media executives have announced layoffs, furloughs and cuts to salaries and benefits as a result of the advertising market collapse.

Our thought bubble: Like a few other media companies that reported earnings recently, The Times still beat on revenue and earnings, suggesting that the majority of the impact that its business will face as a result of the coronavirus will come next quarter.

Go deeper: Coronavirus presents existential threat for news media

Go deeper

As techlash heats up again, here's who's stoking the fire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As controversies around online speech rage against a backdrop of racial tension, presidential provocation and a pandemic, a handful of companies, lawmakers and advocacy groups have continued to promote a backlash against Big Tech.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Google got a reputational boost at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, but that respite from criticism proved brief. They're now once again walking a minefield of regulatory investigations, public criticism and legislative threats over antitrust concerns, content moderation and privacy concerns.

Cities are retooling public transit to lure riders back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After being told for months to stay away from others, the idea of being shoulder to shoulder again in a bus or subway terrifies many people, requiring sweeping changes to public transit systems for the COVID-19 era.

Why it matters: Cities can't come close to resuming normal economic activity until large numbers of people feel comfortable using public transportation.

The policies that could help fix policing

 Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

George Floyd's death has reignited the long and frustrating push to reform a law enforcement system whose systemic flaws have been visible for years.

Why it matters: Solving these problems will require deep political, structural and cultural changes, experts and advocates say — but they also point to a handful of specific policy changes that, while not a cure, would make a difference.