(Reuters) - The New York Times Co's <NYT.N> second-quarter results beat Wall Street estimates, as its digital unit, which includes news, podcasts and crosswords, overtook the legacy print business for the first time.
The Times, which competes for ad dollars with big players like Facebook Inc <FB.O> and Alphabet Inc's <GOOGL.O> Google, has been shifting towards a subscriber-backed model in an effort to cut its reliance on advertising.
The shift has paid off for the publisher that expects third-quarter digital subscription revenue to rise about 30%.
"We posted our best-ever results for new digital subscriptions, and for the first time in our history total digital revenue exceeded print revenue..," outgoing Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson said in a statement.
Its digital-only subscriptions was launched in 2011 and offers podcasts including the popular "The Daily" and cooking recipes, seasoned with crisp images and videos.
The media company, which gets more than half of its revenue from subscriptions, said it added 669,000 digital subscribers in the quarter.
Subscription revenue rose 8.4% to $293.19 million, helping the company tide over a 43.9% drop in advertising revenue.
The company warned that advertising revenue will continue to be strained in the current quarter and expects a decline between 35% and 40%.
The company's total revenue fell 7.5% to $403.75 million, above analysts' estimates of $387.18 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Excluding items, the company earned 18 cents per share in the quarter ended June 30, beating analysts' estimate of 1 cent per share.
(Reporting by Neha Malara in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)