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The New York Times reported quarterly results on Thursday.CARLO ALLEGRI/Reuters

The New York Times Co reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue on Thursday as digital readership soared in a quarter that was dominated by heavy news coverage around the U.S. elections and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The publication’s digital subscriptions have consistently risen in recent years as it pumps its digital products with a rich lineup of news, podcasts, crosswords and cooking recipes, seasoned with crisp images and videos.

“Our work, which was consumed at historic levels, led to a year of strong business results, including a record 2.3 million net new digital-only subscription additions,” said Meredith Kopit Levien, chief executive officer of the New York Times.

The media company, which gets nearly two-thirds of its revenue from subscriptions, had 7.5 million subscriptions across its digital and print products at the end of the quarter.

However, advertising revenue fell 18.7 per cent to $139.27 million during the quarter, as print ad revenues plummeted, largely due to the pandemic.

The company’s total revenue rose marginally to $509.36 million in the fourth quarter from a year ago, above analysts’ estimates of $498.3 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net income attributable fell to $10.01 million, or 6 cents per share, from $68.21 million, or 41 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 40 cents per share, beating estimates of 35 cents.

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