Washington Post Company Profit Down 77%, Print Ads down 21% Qtr 4

Duncan Riley

The Washington Post Company has reported a 77% drop in profit for the year ending 2008 off the back of a tanking newspaper advertising market.

The Washington Post Company owns a cable TV business and education assets along with its flagship Washington Post newspaper. Those additional assets are solely responsible for keeping the company in the black.

The company reported a profit of $65.7 million for the year ending December 28, 2008, down from $288.6 million for the same period last year. Qtr 4 2008 saw a profit of $18.8 million, down 77% from $82.9 million in Qtr 4, 2007.

The company's newspaper publishing division reported revenue decreasing 10% to $801.3 million, from $889.8 million in 2007. Revenue totaled $201.7 million for Qtr 4 2008, a 13% decline from $232.6 million in Qtr 4 2007.

This is where it gets nasty. The newspaper division reported an operating loss of $192.7 million in 2008, compared to income of $66.4 million in 2007. The newspaper lost $14.4 million in Qtr 4.

Print advertising revenue at The Post declined 17% to $410.4 million for the year vs 2007, but notably the decline worsened in Qtr 4, with print ads dropping 21% to $101.8 million.

The only bright spot was online, with a 7% increase for the year, and 5% increase for Qtr 4.