Profits soared for Washington Post Company


Net income shot up to $82.2 million, or $8.71 per share, in Q4 for the Washington Post Company from $18.8 million, or $2.01 per share, a year earlier. That was largely due to fewer one-time charges, but Q4 also saw smaller revenue declines than earlier in 2009 for its television and newspaper operations.

Post-Newsweek Stations, the six-station TV group, saw revenues decline 7% in Q4 to $80.2 million. That decline, however, was improved from the 16% drop recorded for all of 2009. The company noted that political advertising declined by $12.4 million in Q4, which is more than the $6.4 million decline in total ad sales, so core business, excluding political, was actually up in the quarter. Operating income for the TV division was off 20% in Q4 to $29 million. It was down 43% for the year.

Newspaper ad revenues were down only 4% in Q4 to $193.3 million, much improved from the 15% drop for the year. Ad revenues at the Washington Post newspaper decreased 9% in Q4 to $92.6 million – also considerably better than the 23% drop-off for the year. Operating income turned positive for the quarter, but only by $3.2 million, compared to a loss of $14.4 million a year earlier.

Newsweek magazine, however, has not yet enjoyed a recovery. Q4 magazine revenues fell 30% to $52.4 million, while full year revenues fell 27%. The magazine division posted operating income of $400K in Q4, down from $10.9 million a year earlier.

That covers the ad-supported media side of The Washington Post Company, so that is obviously not where the increased profits came from. The education division, led by the Kaplan products, saw Q4 revenues increase 16% to $709.3 million and operating income jumped 31% to $79.6 million.

Revenues for the Cable One MSO rose 4% to $190.6 million in Q4 and operating income rose 2% to $46.9 million.