The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) announced today fourth-quarter 2012 diluted earnings per share from continuing operations increased to $.76 from $.34 in the same period of 2011, largely due to the special items discussed below. Excluding severance and special items, diluted earnings per share from continuing operations decreased to $.32 in the fourth quarter of 2012 from $.39 in the fourth quarter of 2011. The decrease was due principally to a higher effective tax rate applicable in the fourth quarter of 2012 after the exclusion of severance and special items.
The Company had operating profit of $44.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with $90.8 million in the same period of 2011. Excluding depreciation, amortization, severance and the special items discussed below, operating profit was $124.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with $126.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
“2012 showed both the opportunities and challenges we face as a company,” said Mark Thompson, president and chief executive officer. “We saw continued strong growth in digital subscriptions as well as increased revenue from our large print circulation base. Indeed, for the first time in our history, annual circulation revenues surpassed those from advertising. Our pay model continued to prove itself, with approximately 668,000 paid digital subscriptions across the Company at quarter end, up 13 percent from the end of the third quarter.
“The demonstrated willingness of users here and around the world to pay for the high quality journalism for which The New York Times and the Company's other titles are renowned will be a key building block in the strategy for growth, which we are currently developing and which I will have much more to say about later in the year.“By contrast, the advertising environment remained challenging in the fourth quarter, with advertising revenue trends similar to third-quarter levels.