TV posts strongest Q2 growth for Washington Post Co.


The education division may be seen as the main growth driver for The Washington Post Company these days, but it was in second place for revenue growth in Q2, with revenues up 15%. The television unit beat that by nine percentage points.

Revenues for the Post-Newsweek Stations rose 24% in Q2 to $82.6 million, with operating income more than doubling to $29.8 million from $14.3 million a year earlier.

“The increase in revenue and operating income is due to improved advertising demand in all markets and most product categories, particularly automotive,” the company said in its quarterly financial release. The Washington Post Company does not conduct quarterly Wall Street conference calls. The company also noted that political advertising increased by $3.3 million in the quarter from Q2 2009.

With the announced sale of Newsweek to Sidney Harman the former magazine division was reported as a discontinued operation for Q2. No details were provided about revenues and expenses, but Newsweek still posted an after-tax loss of $2.3 million in Q2 – an improvement from the $9 million loss in Q2 of 2009.

For all of The Washington Post Company, Q2 revenues were up 11% to $1.2 billion. Operating income ballooned to $163.5 million from $19.5 million a year ago when the company had taken huge charges for early retirement expenses at The Washington Post newspaper, accelerated depreciation at the newspaper and restructuring charges for its Kaplan test prep business.

Kaplan, the education division of the company, is a lot more than just the test prep business these days. Its Q2 revenues were up 15% to $747.3 million, led by 26% growth in higher education (Kaplan University and its higher ed campuses). Operating income gained 88% to $109 million.

The Washington Post newspaper actually had an up quarter, with revenues gaining 2% to $172.7 million. Print ad revenues declined 6% to $75.2 million, while online ad revenues (primarily and Slate) rose 14% to $26.9 million. The division’s operating loss improved to $14.3 million from $89.3 million a year earlier.

Cable television revenues were up 2% to $190.6 million, with operating income up 10% to $43.8 million. Cable One is the nation’s 10th largest MSO.

RBR-TVBR observation: A name change would appear to be in order for the Post-Newsweek Stations now that Newsweek has been sold. Post-Kaplan Stations would make sense, but we hope they look for something sexier than that.