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“We absolutely believe the extraordinarily intense news cycle has been a very significant factor … and it’s the single most important factor in the scale of the bump we’ve seen in recent quarters,” Thompson told analysts during a conference call after his company revealed its first quarter results.
Shares in the Gray Lady surged nearly 12 percent to $15.95 after the newspaper confirmed it has signed up around 600,000 new digital subscribers in the last six months.
But Thompson warned investors Trump won’t dominate the news cycle forever, and that the newspaper had to keep refining its online pay model to maintain subscriber growth.
“We’re confident that, even after the intensity of the current news environment subsides, this underlying (sub growth) acceleration will continue,” he told analysts. The New York Times on Wednesday said it added 308,000 new digital subscribers during the latest quarter to get to 2.2 million digital-only subscriptions in all.
The latest customer additions follow President Trump’s continued criticism of the newspaper’s coverage of his administration, which at times includes calling the New York Times a “failing” news organization. His assault started with the 2016 presidential campaign.
But Thompson warned recent digital subscriber growth had started to plateau. “We saw some moderation in the rate of new subscription adds to our news product towards the end of the quarter, and expect that moderation to continue through Q2,” Thompson told analysts.
But he also thanked Trump for calling attention to the New York Times‘ “The Truth is Hard” advertising campaign to drive new customer growth. “Even the president of the United States has been kind enough to draw attention to it,” said Thompson.
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