Washington Post Cable Ops Up in Q3, Broadcast Slides

Lower Political Ad Revenue Sinks Broadcast Division

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.