Washington Post profit plunges 85% on weak news, education revenues

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The Washington Post Co reported an 85 per cent drop in first-quarter net income on Friday on a weakness in its education and newspaper businesses.

Stronger results from the television and cable operations, however, helped the company squeeze out a 0.4 per cent rise in total revenue to US$959.1 million (S$1.19 billion).

The first-quarter earnings indicated that its namesake newspaper cannot shake the problems clinging to the sector, mainly a drain in advertising revenue and the loss of readers, who are reading news elsewhere.

Total revenue at the newspaper division dropped 4 per cent to US$127.3 million because of lower ad sales at its print edition. It reported an operating loss of US$34.5 million mainly due to severance costs. At its education division known as Kaplan, revenue fell 3 per cent to US$527.8 million.

Net income for the quarter was US$4.7 million, or 64 US cents per share, compared with US$31 million, or US$4.07 per share, in the same quarter last year.