New York Times reports lower revenue on ad slide

By Jennifer Saba April 25 (Reuters) - New York Times Co reported a decline in quarterly revenue as the newspaper publisher continues to struggle with weak advertising sales. The 11.2 percent drop in advertising revenue in the first quarter underscores the pressure that the New York Times faces to increase its subscription revenue, especially for its digital products. As such, the company also said on Thursday that it would roll out a line of lower-priced products to attract more readers around the world. "We want to deepen our relationship with our existing loyal customers, but we also want to use a wider family of New York Times products to reach new customers both here and around the world," Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson said in a statement. Paid subscriptions to digital products at the company's namesake paper and The Boston Globe totaled 708,000 in the first quarter, a 45 percent increase from a year earlier. Still, the growth in subscriptions slowed compared to the prior quarter. Paid digital subscriptions were up 6 percent from the first quarter, compared to the fourth quarter. While it grew 13 percent from the fourth quarter to the third. Compounding revenue challenges is a reversal of digital advertising revenue growth - once a bright spot for the industry. At the New York Times, digital ad revenue dropped 4 percent in the quarter. Circulation revenue rose 7 percent, but that was not enough to offset a decrease in print and digital ad revenue. Total revenue for the company fell 2 percent to $465.9 million, below analysts' expectations of $470.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Excluding severance, earnings per share for the quarter was 4 cents, in line with analysts' forecast. Shares of the New York Times were down nearly 3 percent to $8.74 in morning trade.