Washington Post Co. Swings to Q1 Profit as Newspaper Revenue Decline Eases

By: Mark Fitzgerald

The Washington Post Co. turned profitable in the first quarter, boosted by a 20% revenue gain in its Kaplan education business and moderating fall-offs in newspaper revenue.

The Post Co. reported Friday net income of $45.4 million, or $4.91 a share, compared with a year-ago net loss of $19.2 million, or $2.04 a share. Friday’s Q1 results include accelerated depreciation at its flagship Washington Post newspaper of $8.3 million, or 89 cents a share.

Post Co. revenue surged 11% to  $1.17 billion on growth in the education, television broadcasting and cable television divisions, offset by revenue declines at the magazine publishing and newspaper publishing divisions. Earlier this week, the Post Co. announced it was selling Newsweek. Revenue in the magazine division plunged 36% in the quarter, the company said.

Newspaper division revenue totaled $155.8 million in the first quarter, a dip of 3% from the year-ago period.

Print advertising revenue at Post decreased 8% to $68.7 million on declines in retail and general advertising

Newspaper online revenue, principally from washingtonpost.com and Slate, increased 8% to $23.7 million. Display online advertising revenue jumped 17%, while online classified advertising revenue on washingtonpost.com fell 13%.

The newspaper division reported an operating loss of $13.8 million for Q1 compared to an operating loss of $53.8 million a year ago.

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