Washington Post Co. dragged down by ad sales


Even its long-hailed diversification into the education business couldn’t save the Washington Post Company from a dismal Q1, shifting from net income of $39.3 million a year ago to a net loss of $19.5 million. TV revenues fell 21% and newspaper revenues 22% –  although ad revenues for the Washington Post plunged 33%.

Revenues at the Post-Newsweek Stations fell 21% to $61.2 million and operating income was down 54% to $12.1 million. “The decrease in revenue and operating income is due to weaker advertising demand in all markets and most product categories, particularly automotive; political advertising revenue also declined by $2.8 million,” the company said in a quarterly news release. Washington Post Company does not conduct conference calls with analysts.

The story was worse at the flagship Washington Post. Newspaper revenues fell 22% to $160.9 million and ad revenues dropped 33% to $74.3 million. Even online revenues were down, with washingtonpost.com revenues falling 8% to $22 million. The newspaper division reported a Q1 operating loss of $53.8 million, compared to operating income of $1.2 million a year earlier.

Magazine publishing saw revenues decline 14% to $46.1 million, although the operating loss narrowed to $20.2 million from $32.3 million.

While education division revenues were up 9% to $593.5 million, operating income declined 76% to $11.2 million.

The only division to post both revenues and operating income gains was cable television. Its revenues rose 5% to $183.5 million and operating income increased 23% to $42 million.