The New York Times Co <NYT.N> on Wednesday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, as the newspaper publisher benefited from a record increase in digital subscriptions that helped offset falling print sales.
Shares of the company rose 7.3 percent to $15.35 in early trading.
"We added an astonishing 308,000 net digital news subscriptions, making Q1 the single best quarter for subscriber growth in our history," Chief Executive Mark Thompson said in a statement.
Paid digital-only subscriptions stood at about 2.2 million at the end of the first quarter of 2017, soaring more than 60 percent from a year earlier, and up 16 percent from the end of the preceding quarter.
New York Times' total revenue rose 5.1 percent — the best performance in several quarters — to $398.8 million.
Digital advertising revenue, which now makes up about 38 pct of advertising revenue, rose 18.9 percent to $49.7 million, while print advertising revenue continued to fall, declining 17.9 percent to $80.4 million.
Newspaper and magazine publishers are struggling to find readers willing to pay for their daily news fix rather than turn to a host of websites and mobile apps delivering quick news for free.
The New York Times has been investing heavily to boost its digital offerings that focus on mobile devices and brand marketing as well as other services to lure readers.
In February the company said it would provide free access to music streaming service Spotify to readers who sign up for one-year digital subscriptions.
The publisher said operating costs rose 4.5 percent to $367.4 million in the first quarter.
Net income attributable to the company was $13.2 million or 8 cents per share, compared with a loss of $8.3 million or 5 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, New York Times earned 11 cents per share, beating analysts' average estimate of 7 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
(Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)