New York Times CEO thanks Trump for boosting subscription growth

New York Times CEO Mark Thompson on Wednesday thanked Donald Trump for another record quarter in digital subscriber growth.

"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.

RELATED: See who the New York Times has endorsed for president through the years

New York Times endorsements through the ages
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New York Times endorsements through the ages

Republican Abraham Lincoln endorsed in 1860, 1864. 

Republican, Defeated Stephen A. Douglas (D), John C. Breckinridge (Southern Democrat), and John Bell (Constitutional Union Party)

Republican Ulysses S. Grant endorsed in 1868, 1872.
Republican Rutherford B. Hayes endorsed in 1876. 
Republican James Abraham Garfield endorsed in 1880.
Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1884, 1888, 1892.
Republican William McKinley endorsed in 1900.
Democrat Judge Alton B. Parker endorsed by 1904.
Republican William Howard Taft endorsed in 1908.
Democrat Woodrow Wilson endorsed in 1912, 1916.
Democrat James M Cox endorsed in 1920.
Democrat John W. Davis endorsed in 1924.
Democrat Alfred E Smith endorsed in 1928. 
Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt endorsed in 1932, 1936, 1944.
Republican Wendell Willkie endorsed in 1940.
Republican Thomas E. Dewey endorsed in 1948.
Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower endorsed in 1952, 1956.
Democrat John F. Kennedy endorsed in 1960.
Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson endorsed in 1964.
Democrat Hubert Humphery endorsed in 1968. 
Democrat George S. McGovern endorsed in 1972.
Democrat Jimmy Carter endorsed in 1978, 1980.
Democrat Walter Mondale endorsed in 1984.
Democrat Michael S. Dukakis endorsed in 1988.
Democrat Bill Clinton endorsed in 1992, 1996.
Democrat Al Gore endorsed in 2000.
Democrat John Kerry endorsed 2004.

"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.


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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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