Washington Post newspaper revenue drops 8% in 1st quarter

The Washington Post Company
The Washington Post Company reported net earnings of $31 million in the first quarter of 2012 on Friday. Last year, the Post reported earnings of $15.2 million in the first quarter; the report attributes the gain to the sale of Kaplan’s Eduneering business to UL for $30 million. Kaplan’s Higher Education division reported an 82 percent drop in operating income.

Revenue at the company’s newspaper division was down 8 percent from the same period in 2011. Print advertising dropped 17 percent and digital advertising dropped 7 percent. The company’s report blamed the print loss on “reductions in general, classified and preprint advertising”; revenue from online display ads declined 11 percent.

New Audit Bureau of Circulations figures released this week show the Post’s daily circulation dropped 7.84 percent while its Sunday circulation dropped 15.66 percent. The Post lost more circulation than any other of the top 25 papers, even though its Sunday circulation drop was mostly attributable to the paper deciding not to count distribution of Savings Now, a home-delivered advertising-and-editorial product that goes to nonsubscribers. In the report, the Post says its circulation losses are 9.8 percent daily and 5.2 percent on Sundays. Nationally, daily circulation was up .68 percent, while Sunday circulation rose 5 percent.

The newspaper division reported $1.9 million in “severance and early retirement expenses.” The newspaper is in the midst of its fifth round of buyouts in recent years. About 50 people have opted to take the company’s buyout deal, which offered 3.25 weeks of pay for every year of service, and health insurance coverage for up to a year.

Revenue was up 13 percent at the company’s television stations; cable-TV revenue was flat.

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