Friday brought weak quarterly results from another big newspaper publisher, as The Washington Post Co. announced that total revenues were basically flat in the third quarter
at $1.01 billion. Revenues at WaPo’s newspaper publishing division fell 4% from $143.5 million in the third quarter of 2011 to $137.3 million in the third quarter of 2012.
Print advertising revenue at the newspaper division fell 11% from $57.6 million to $51.4 million, with losses spread across all the major newspaper advertising categories, including big drops in general and retail advertising. On the positive side, online publishing revenues increased 13% from $23.8 million to $26.9 million, thanks in part to an 18% increasing on line advertising revenue. Online classified advertising revenues increased 1% in the third quarter.
However, declines at The Washington Post newspaper division were substantially offset by increases at the company’s cable TV and broadcast TV divisions.
Revenue at WaPo’s broadcast TV division increased 44% from $73.8 million in the third quarter of 2011 to $106.4 million in the third quarter of 2012, reflecting big bumps from Olympics and political advertising, which added $10.8 million and $15.6 million to the division’s bottom line, respectively.
broadcast TV division also benefited from increased retrans revenues.
WaPo’s cable TV division saw total revenues increase 6% from $187.9 million in the third quarter of 2011 to $199.6 million in the third quarter of 2012, due largely to increased demand for its telephone and Internet services.
The company’s education division, the mainstay of its business in previous years, continued to suffer declines, with revenues slipping 8% from $601.6 million to $552.6 million. The education division, which includes the Kaplan higher education and test prep businesses, has suffered since Congress revised the rules governing how recipients may use federal education loans. Rules adopted in 2010 restrict the use of the loans to pay for for-profit colleges and test prep services.