Much more important to understand than these bottom line numbers are the ones that illustrate the quickening acceleration to digital.
Look only at the income results of the quarter — an overall 0.8 percent increase in revenues — and you’d miss the drama of that volatility. What seems like a smooth drive is actually quite a bumpy journey. Advertising is moving profoundly (but haphazardly) from print to digital, as are readers. While the Times could count 44,000 new digital subscribers in the quarter, a 20 percent year-over-year increase, it lost 5.2 percent of its daily print readers — and, more worryingly, 3.5 percent of its Sunday print subscribers. The Times already counts more digital subs than print ones, and the divide is widening.
The New York Times is one to watch, as a vanguard. Coming soon, we should see the fruits of their work.