The Washington Post Co.
The Washington Post Co. swung to a loss in the third-quarter as advertising revenue fell for the fourth consecutive period and its one-time cash cow, the Kaplan education unit, reported a steep drop in profits.
Newspaper publishing division revenue declined 9 percent in the quarter to $149.3 million, pushed by a 20 percent decline in print advertising revenue at the flagship Washington Post. The company said its declines were largely due to drops in classified, zoned and general advertising.
Digital dimes are not making up for the print loss in the newspaper division’s online unit, which include the Post Website and Slate. Newspaper online revenue dropped 14 percent in the quarter to $23.3 million. Display online ad revenue plunged 17 percent and online classified dipped 5 percent.
Overall, the Post Co. recorded a third-quarter loss of $6.2 million, or 82 cents a share. That contrasts with a third-quarter 2010 profit of $60.9 million or $6.48 a share.
Wall Street analysts had been expecting the Post Co. to report another profit this quarter, with the average estimate being a profit of $3.85 per share, according to Wall Street Cheat Sheet.
Expect to see the stock (NYSE: WPO) fall on its opening Friday morning.
The Post Co. did exceed analysts expectations on company-wide revenue, which declined 13 percent to $1.03 billion. Wall Street’s expectation had been for a steeper decline of 16 percent to $1 billion.
The Washington Post Co.’s biggest problem these days isn’t the sluggish performance of newspaper advertising, an industry-wide problem – it’s the sudden change in fortunes at its Kaplan education unit.