August 7, 2019 / 1:11 PM / 19 days ago

UPDATE 1-New York Times posts profit beat, adds more digital subscribers

(Adds details on results, estimates, background)

Aug 7 (Reuters) - The New York Times Co posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, as it signed up more digital subscribers amid a drop in revenue from print advertising.

The Times said it added 197,000 digital-only subscribers in the quarter, pushing total subscriptions to 3.78 million. Its digital advertising revenue rose about 14% in the second quarter, but the company cautioned of a weak second half.

"We expect the second half of 2019 to be somewhat more challenging for digital advertising than the first half, with this year's revenue comping against our large gains in the third and fourth quarters of 2018," Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson said in a statement.

Online subscriptions have become crucial for the Times as more companies increasingly shift their ad dollars away from print to digital platforms such as Alphabet Inc's Google and Facebook Inc.

Total revenue rose to $436.3 million from $414.6 million a year earlier, missing analysts' average estimate of $438.7 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Print advertising revenue fell 8% in the quarter.

Excluding items, the company earned 17 cents per share, compared with expectations of 15 cents.

Net income attributable to shareholders rose to $25.2 million, or 15 cents per share, in the quarter, from $23.6 million, or 14 cents per share, a year earlier.

Shares of the 167-year old newspaper were untraded before the bell. (Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Bernard Orr)

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