Washington Post Halves 2Q Profit as Newspaper Sales Slide

The Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) halved its second-quarter profit on Friday upon much weaker revenues as its bewildered publishing business continued to struggle amid high costs and rapidly declining demand.

The company, which operates the largest newspaper in the District of Columbia and provides a range of educational services including test preparation and K12 services under the brand Kaplan, posted net income of $45.6 million, or $5.74 a share, compared with $91.9 million, or $10 a share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding one-time losses from discontinued operations and pensions, the company would have earned $5.92 a share, ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of $5.87.

Revenue for the three months ended July 3 was $1.07 billion, down 10% from $1.2 billion a year ago, missing the Streets view of $1.09 billion. The figure was impacted by weaker sales performance at its education division, down 15%, and a 6% drop in newspaper publishing.

Partially offsetting the losses were gains in its television broadcasting and cable television segments.

Newspapers industry-wide have been struggling amid dwindling demand as customers continue to read their news online. Their profits have been weighed down by ink and circulation costs, forcing many of the companies to revamp their subscription plans and focus on their digital footprint.

The New York Times (NYSE:NYT) earlier this year announced a new plan that charges its most frequent web users $15 a month. The service was previously free.

In an effort to save costs, the company divested a year ago the magazine Newsweek and sold last month Kaplan Virtual Education and Education Connection.