Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Washington Post’s Slide Makes The New York Times Look Better

newsiesFor the last year or so, the Washington Post Co. (WPO) has reported steadily declining results for its newspaper business–just like every other newspaper publisher in the country. But in previous quarters, it was at least able to argue that its slide wasn’t as bad as the one the New York Times (NYT) was going through.

It can’t say that anymore.

The Post says revenue at its flagship paper was down 22 percent in the last quarter and that print ad revenue was down 33 percent. That’s worse than the declines of 13 percent and 21 percent it posted in the previous quarter. And it’s lousier than the poor results the Times posted last month, when it reported that overall ad revenue had dropped 27 percent.

The same holds for the Post’s online business: Even in the good old days, it wasn’t growing fast enough to counter the decline at the print business. But now, online is declining, too.

Web revenue was down eight percent, because the classifieds business has been decimated. Online display ads, at least, were up a meager three percent. But last quarter, display ads were up 10 percent and the overall business was still growing five percent.

As usual, the real difference between the Post and the Times isn’t their performance but their corporate structure: The Times is pure-play media business that’s now choking on debt, while the Post is an education company (Kaplan) that happens to own a newspaper, which makes all of these grim results much easier to bear.

Here’s a survey of the rest of the Post’s business lines. Click on the image to enlarge.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald