Upbeat Financial News From Meredith Magazines and the New York Times

From a Wall Street Journal story, “Results Jump at Publishing Firm Meredith”:

Investors drove shares of Meredith Corp. up 15% after the largest U.S. magazine publisher posted a jump in profit for the December quarter, suggesting it is getting its arms around its acquisition of Time Inc.

The publisher of magazines such as People, Better Homes & Gardens and Real Simple has embarked on a strategy of raising newsstand prices for some titles—including Coastal Living, Cooking Light, Traditional Home and Rachael Ray in Season—while cutting their frequency. This approach sacrifices some advertising and subscription revenues but also cuts down on expenses. . . .

Meredith has been winnowing down its assets to those it believes have the best chance of success in a publishing industry where growth is hard to come by. Meredith sold off the flagship titles of Time Inc. after the 2018 acquisition, including Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated. It has closed titles such as Family Circle, Martha Stewart Weddings and Money. . . .

Meredith improved profits on the magazine front by converting some monthly titles into quarterly, higher-priced newsstand titles. Although Meredith subsequently lost some circulation revenue, the company was able to slash related printing and subscription expenses.
From a New York Times story, “Subscriptions To The Times Top 5 Million As Ads Decline”:

In the last three months of 2019, The New York Times Company reached one major business goal and got more than halfway toward another. Both are related to what has become the company’s main business: making money directly from customers who pay to do the crossword, check out recipes and follow the news on their computers, tablets and phones.

As the company disclosed last month, in 2019 it passed $800 million in annual digital revenue for the first time, an objective it had pledged to meet by the end of 2020. Most of that $800.8 million—more than $420 million—came from news subscribers.

In the fourth-quarter earnings report that came out on Thursday, the company said its total subscription figure was over five million, a high. The company’s stated goal is to reach 10 million by 2025.

The 5,251,000 total subscriptions include customers who receive ink-and-paper editions on their doorsteps and driveways and the close to 3.5 million who are digital-only customers for the core news product, the company said. . . .

The company said it expected to continue generating revenue more from readers than from the advertisers that were once integral to the newspaper business. Not unrelated: The price of subscriptions is going up.

Starting this week, the price of a digital-only subscription to the main news product every four weeks will increase to $17, from $15, the company said. . . .

The Crossword and the Cooking apps continued to bring in customers who may want little to do with the news. The cooking product attracted 68,000 new subscriptions in the final quarter of last year.

Under a reorganization announced last month, the two apps, along with the NYT Parenting site, will be grouped with The Wirecutter, the product recommendation site acquired by the Times Company in 2016, and led by David Perpich.

Speak Your Mind