Washington Post Co. into the red


The company Friday posted a net loss of $2.7 million in Q2, compared to net income of $68.8 million a year ago, largely due to a charge for an early retirement program to cut head count. Companywide revenues for the Washington Post Company rose 6% in Q2 to $1.11 billion, due to significant gains in the education and cable TV divisions. Revenues were down, though, for the newspaper, magazine and television broadcasting divisions. The company issues quarterly results, but does not conduct conference calls with analysts.

For Post-Newsweek Stations, revenues were down 6% in the quarter to $82.8 million. TV operating income declined 16% to $29.7 million. The company said soft advertising demand overall was partially offset by a $500K increase in political advertising for the quarter.

Magazine publishing (Newsweek) suffered the biggest percentage hit, with revenues down 15% to $62.7 million. Ad revenues fell 21% for the quarter and subscription revenue was down as well.

The newspaper division (Washington Post) saw revenues decline 13% to $227.9 million. Print ad revenues plunged 22% to $99.8 million. The company said that was “primarily the result of a large decline in classified advertising revenue, along with significant reductions in retail and general.” Newspaper circulation was also down.

Cable Television (Cable One) saw revenues increase 16% to $178.9 million and operating income jumped 25% to $40.1 million. The division reported grown in its cable modem, telephone and digital revenues, as well as revenue growth from rate increases for high-speed data and basic video during the past year for nearly all of its systems.

Despite its name, Washington Post Company is no longer primarily a newspaper company, or even just a media company. Its Education division, led by Kaplan, reported revenue growth of 14% in Q2 to $576.5 million. Excluding acquisitions, the gain was still 11%. Operating income jumped 26% to $47.4 million.