Wash Post Co. Newspaper Q4 Ad Revenue Falls 8%

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By: E&P Staff

Net income at The Washington Post Co. fell 6.7% to $95.5 million during Q4 2006 compared to the same period a year ago on charges related to early retirement and increased expenses at its education division. For the year, net income was up 3.2% to $324.5 million.

During Q4 total company revenue was up 10% to $1 billion due to gains at its education and broadcasts divisions. Operating income dropped 26% to $116.2 million.

For 2006, revenue advanced 10% to $3.9 billion due to growth at its education, broadcast, and to some extent, its newspaper division. Operating income for the year declined 11% to $459.8 million.

At the newspaper publishing division, total revenue decreased 2% to $247.2 million in Q4. Operating income plummeted 24% to $29 million because of a drop in print advertising and increased pension expense.

For the year, revenue inched up 1% to $961.9 million while operating slid 49% to $63.4 million. The drop in operating results for the year is due primarily to a $47.1 million pre-tax charge associated with an early retirement plan at its flagship newspaper, the company said.

Advertising revenue at its newspaper division slipped 8% to $145.6 million in Q4 and 4% to $573.2 million for the year. The Post experienced declines in all major categories expect for zoned advertising.

In Q4, classified advertising plummeted 22% to $12.5 million. For the year, the category fell 14% to $68.1 million.

Daily circulation at the paper slipped 2.9% to 673,900 in 2006 while Sunday declined 3.2% to 937,700.

Online revenue at the division advanced 22% to $30 million in Q4 and 28% to $102.7 million for the year. Display advertising increased 35% in Q4 and 46% for the year. Classified advertising rose 8% in Q4 and 18% for the year.

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