Newsweek Ad Revenue Plummets 38%

Washington Post Co. reports first-quarter earnings two days after putting mag up for sale

Two days after putting Newsweek up for sale, the Washington Post Company reported first-quarter earnings on Friday, offering more ugly numbers attached to the struggling newsweekly.

Revenue for the company’s magazine publishing division – i.e. Newsweek – plummeted 36 percent during the quarter to $29.4 million, down from $46.1 million in 2009. WaPo Co. attributed the drop to a 38 percent slide in advertising revenue at Newsweek, one less issue of the domestic edition and the sale of Newsweek Budget Travel in December.

Subscription revenue also declined, but that was expected, given the magazine’s planned dramatic rate base reduction from 2.6 million to 1.5 million at the end of the year.

Newspaper revenue fell 3 percent to $155.8 million on an 8 percent print advertising dip at the Washington Post — where revenues fell to $68.7 million from $74.3 million in 2009. But that was better than last year's 22 percent drop in first-quarter revenue at the newspaper. (Online revenue at washingtonpost.com and Slate increased 8 percent.)

Perhaps most troubling, the Washington Post’s daily circulation decreased 12.5 percent during the first quarter – and 10.4 percent on Sunday.  All of this led the newspaper division to an operating loss of $13.8 million, though, again, it was better than the $53.8 million loss in the first quarter of 2009.

Overall, the company swung to $92.5 million profit and an 11 percent bump in revenue with growth at the education, television broadcasting and cable television divisions offsetting the losses at Newsweek and the Post.

More to read:

Who Might Buy Newsweek — and the Odds They Will
Newsweek Goes Up for Sale
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