Washington Post sees losses, ads decline
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WASHINGTON, Feb 22 AFP
February 23 2013, 03:11AM
The Washington Post Co. says circulation and advertising has weakened further at its flagship daily newspaper, as the company reports a quarterly loss linked to a write-down.
The company's $US45.4 million ($A44.55 million) loss stemmed from a write-down in the value of its Kaplan education division, offsetting a slim operating profit at its newspaper division and stronger results at its television operations.
Revenues for the fourth quarter rose one per cent to $US1.05 billion, and fell three per cent for the year to $4.02 billion.
Its newspaper division remained under pressure: daily circulation at the Washington Post declined 8.6 per cent in 2012 to an average 471,800, while Sunday circulation fell 6.2 per cent to 687,200.
Newspaper publishing revenues fell six per cent year-over-year in the quarter to $162 million and were down seven per cent for the year.
Print advertising revenue at The Post slid 14 per cent in 2012 to $228.2 million, with a 12 per cent drop in the fourth quarter.
"The decline is largely due to reductions in general and retail advertising," a company statement said on Friday.
The group saw only modest gains in its online activities, which include the washingtonpost.com website and Slate, where revenues were up five per cent for the year at $110.6 million.
Display online advertising revenue increased six per cent in 2012 while online classified advertising revenue decreased one per cent for the year.
The Post, one of the last major US newspapers to offer its content free of charge online, is expected to erect a metered paywall this year, where readers will have to pay for access beyond a minimum number of articles.
The Post is also considering the sale of its headquarters in the city's downtown district.
The past quarter's results were affected by a write-down of $111 million at Kaplan Test Preparation, reflecting the lower value of the business, which faces a more difficult economic environment.
Newspaper operations showed an operating profit of $2.6 million in the quarter, but a loss of $53.7 million for the full year.
Cable television delivered a quarterly operating profit of $43 million and broadcast television $62 million in operating earnings.