Print advertising revenue at Washington Post was down 14% in 2012

The Washington Post Co. | The Washington Post

Revenue at the Washington Post Co.’s newspaper operations was down 7 percent over 2011, the company said in a release of its fourth-quarter and year-end earnings Friday. Revenue from print advertising was down 12 percent in the fourth quarter and 14 percent for the year. Online revenue was up, with a 6 percent increase in online display ad revenue over 2011. Daily circulation went down nearly 9 percent over the previous year, and Sunday circulation was down about 6 percent: “average daily circulation at The Washington Post totaled 471,800 and average Sunday circulation totaled 687,200,” the release said. The release does not break out circulation revenue.

The Post’s newspaper division had an operating loss of “$53.7 million in 2012, compared to an operating loss of $21.2 million in 2011,” the release said.

The company’s education division, which was hit hard by a federal investigation into for-profit colleges such as the ones in its Kaplan division, had a 6 percent decline in revenue in the fourth quarter and a 10 percent loss over 2011. Revenue at the Post Co.’s cable TV division was up 4 percent over 2011.

It’s been an eventful final quarter at the company’s newspaper division.

Not long after the presidential election last November, Publisher Katharine Weymouth ousted Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli, replacing him with Boston Globe Editor Marty Baron.

In December, The Wall Street Journal reported the Post will install some sort of paywall, perhaps as soon as this summer. The Post later reported the same thing.

Baron has said the paper’s headcount will probably decrease. The paper recently made cuts on its business side.

At the beginning of the month, Weymouth told staffers the company would explore selling its building in downtown D.C.; the D.C. government assessed it and some Post Co.-owned buildings nearby at $80 million. Also in February the Post Co. announced it would sell the Everett (Wash.) Herald.

Washington Post Co. 2012 earnings reports on Poynter: First quarter | Second quarter | Third quarter

Worth rereading: What’s really going wrong (and right) at The Washington Post

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  • Cathlyn Park

    Wow, that seems like a lot of downsizing, and the cause is obvious, everything is going online. I think what newspapers need to do is just retrain their staff, retooling them for online publishing, and of course boosting their performance online. There will still be some kind of printed presence though for years to come I believe, just see how print still has a role by reading here: http://blog.printplace.com/print-media-marketing-and-advertising-in-the-changing-media-landscape/ . But the point is that the shift to online content is already increasing pace, you just need to preserve what is needed and go with the flow.