Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Extra! Extra! Read all about it: Shares of The New York Times and The Boston Globe parent The New York Times Co. (NYS: NYT) were showing some life, gaining as much as 10% in intraday trading after the company reported third-quarter earnings.
So what: It's breaking news to no one that the print news business is a brutal one in the age of the Internet. While there were a lot of red marks in NYT's third quarter, the bottom line (adjusted) profit per share of $0.05 edged out the average estimate of $0.04 from Wall Street analysts.
Total advertising was down as higher digital ad revenue wasn't enough to offset the drop in print advertising. The company's About group -- home of About.com -- also struggled as it dealt with ad and search algorithm changes introduced by Google (NAS: GOOG) . On the flip side, digital subscriptions performed well and print subscription declines seem to be calming down. The company also benefitted from cost-cutting initiatives.
Now what: There's really a lot to not like about NYT as an investment. Most notably there's the hefty debt load and the challenges to print news. But there also could be good reasons for investors to give the company a second look. For one, it's continued to produce healthy free cash flow. Maybe more importantly, the company's core business is creating content that customers are willing to pay for. If the Internet showed that many readers prefer getting content for free over paying for it, the introduction of NYT's digital subscriptions shows that when your content is high quality, readers will be willing to open their wallets for you.
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