The second quarter brought no relief for the newspaper business, judging by major publishers’ weak earnings results. The latest discouraging
news came from the Washington Post Co., which announced that total revenues declined 5% from $1.06 billion in the second quarter of 2011 to $1.01 billion in the same period this year.
The revenue decline was due mostly to drops at WaPo’s education and newspaper divisions, which more than offset gains at its broadcast and cable TV divisions.
division saw total revenues decline 7% from $163 million to $152 million, as print advertising at the flagship newspaper tumbled 15% from $67 million to $57 million. The publishing
division’s digital revenues, mostly from the newspaper and Slate, increased 8% from $24 million in the second quarter of 2011 to $26 million this year.
In the first half of the year, the Washington Post’s daily circulation fell 9.3% while Sunday circ dipped 6.1%, according to the company.
Earlier this year, the Audit Bureau of Circulations pegged the
newspaper’s total daily circulation in the six-month period ending March 2012, including digital editions, at 507,615, and Sunday circ at 719,301. That compares with an average daily circ of
724,242 and Sunday circ of 960,684 in the six-month period ending March 2006.
WaPo’s education division -- at one time the company’s largest division -- has also taken its knocks, due principally to changes in government student loan policy that made it harder to use student loans for Kaplan testing. The education division saw total revenue fall 9% to $558.4 million in the second quarter of 2012 vs. 2011.
The company’s cable and broadcast TV divisions fared relatively well, although their contributions were still outweighed by the declines described above.
Cable TV revenue increased 2% to $195.6 million, due mostly to growth at its Internet and telephone services. The broadcast TV division saw revenue jump 13% to $95.6 million, due in part to increased political advertising, as well as growth in a number of other ad categories.