Washington Post Reeling: Print Ads Down 22%, Online Growth Slowing To A Crawl

No point in comparing the Washington Post’s Q2 numbers to Wall Street’s expectations — the newspaper business has gotten hammered so badly that only one analyst — Lehman’s Craig Huber — is offering up estimates anymore. But for the record, the Post’s (WPO) performance was worse than Craig predicted.

The details: The company lost 31 cents a share on revenue of $1.1 billion, which is up 6%. Back out one-time charges and EPS climbs back to $5.70 — below Craig’s $6.90, if you’re scoring at home. But those numbers include Wapo’s Kaplan group, which continues to do quite well.

The newspaper unit, of course is a different story:

Revenue $197 million, down 13% y/y

Operating income, net of a $79.8 million charge for buyouts/layoffs, is a $16.9 million loss, versus a $17.7 million gain last year. That’s because both advertisers and subscribers are fleeing the paper: Print advertising was down 22% in the quarter, with subs for the daily edition down 2.6% and the Sunday edition down 3.7% for the first half of 2008.

What about online? No help there: online revenue growth is slowing. Digital was up a mere 4%, to $29.3 million, decelerating from modest 8% growth in Q1. Display ads were up 11%, down from 17% in Q1, and classified ads on washingtonpost.com shrank by 1%; in Q1 they’d at least grown 2%. Thanks for nothing, Craigslist!

Glutton for more grim news on a Friday morning? Keep reading:

TV revenue: Down 6%

Magazine revenue: Down 15%, due to a 21% decline in ads at Newsweek. Maybe Real Dan Lyons/Fake Steve Jobs can turn things around.

And the obligatory bit of good news: Cable TV is in good shape, with revenues up 16%.

See Also: Craigslist Killing Wapo Online, Offline
Craigslist CEO: Our Online Ads Are Booming

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