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New York Times reports first-quarter loss

NEW YORK -- The New York Times Co. on Thursday reported a first-quarter loss of $14.3 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier.

The company added more digital subscribers amid declines in print advertising.

The publisher has been investing in video, mobile, and marketing messages designed to resemble news stories to offset declines in print advertising and circulation as more readers shift to online. The Times said this month it would stop charging for its mobile app NYT Now in May, an acknowledgment that its push to attract more young digital readers with a fee-based subscription hasn’t been working. Analysts have said the move would have little impact on the Times’ bottom line.

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Digital ad sales increased 11 percent.

In February, the company had forecast total first-quarter ad revenue will drop by a “mid-single digits” percentage from a year earlier.

Earnings excluding some items were 11 cents a share, the New York-based company said Thursday in a statement. That compares with the 8-cent average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Ad revenue dropped 5.8 percent.

In recent months, the company introduced a redesigned New York Times Magazine and a monthly men’s style section to bolster print advertising, which still makes up a large part of the Times’ revenue. It also discontinued the newspaper’s homes and autos sections.

New York Times shares have dropped 3 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock has declined 21 percent in the last 12 months.