TV Ops Prove Profitable For WashPo Co.

Now becoming a trend, the Washington Post Co. TV operations were its bright spot in its latest quarterly results.

Political advertising pushed up its TV broadcasting unit's revenue 28% in fourth-quarter 2010 to $102.9 million. In the third quarter of 2010, its broadcast stations witnessed a 29% bump in revenue. Political TV advertising pulled in $17.6 million during the most current reporting period.

All this resulted in a sharp 56% rise in operating income to $45.3 million for the last quarter of 2010 for the company's television businesses. In addition to political advertising, automotive advertising climbed strongly.

For the year, TV's strong results were also due to increased revenue and operating income -- some $4.7 million in incremental winter Olympics-related advertising at the company's NBC affiliates in the first quarter of 2010, and a $32.2 million and $17.6 million increase in political advertising revenue for 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2010, respectively.

The company's cable TV operations moved at a slower pace, a bit better than in the fourth quarter of 2009 to $191.3 million from $190.6 million.

But the company's other business results were somewhat lackluster. There were continued declines in its education and newspaper business. Education revenue totaled $699.8 million, a 1% decline from $709.3 million for the same period of 2009. Newspaper operations' revenue totaled $188.4 million, a 3% decrease from $193.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Overall, the Washington Post Co. says its fourth-quarter net income declined 3% to $79 million, with revenue flat at $1.19 billion.

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