Washington Post Cable Ops Up in Q3, Broadcast Slides

Lower Political Ad Revenue Sinks Broadcast Division
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While broadcasting revenues were off at The Washington Post, the company’s cable operations logged double-digit growth.

Once again the absence of political advertising caused tough comparables versus 2006 in the company’s television-broadcasting unit as revenue dropped 5% to $77.8 million from $82.2 million. Political ad revenue in the quarter was down $7.6 million.

Operating income in the quarter increased 10% to $36 million from $32.9 million on the back of a $9.5 million gain on the sale of property at the company’s Miami television station.

Revenue from the company’s cable division was up 11% in the quarter to $157.8 million from $142.3 million largely on growth in the cable-modem and digital segments. Operating income in the division rose to $29.8 million from $27.9 million. Digital-cable subscribers grew 5% in the quarter, while high-speed-data subscribers rose 19%. In September, the company implemented a $3.05 monthly rate increase for a majority of its data subscribers. Subscribers to the phone service, which rolled out in Q2 2006, grew to 40,225 from 733 a year ago.

Revenue at the company’s flagship newspaper division dropped 7% to $210.2 million and at its magazine division 18% to $62.5 million on declines in print-advertising revenue.

On a consolidated basis, revenue in the third quarter was up 8% to $1.02 billion from $947 million in the same quarter a year ago. Operating income was up 2% to $110.5 million from $108.6 million while net income was $72.5 million versus $73.3 million. Earnings per share were $7.60.

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