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Washington Post Revenue Falls Again In Q1; Newspaper Division Suffers Steep Losses

Reuters  |  Posted: 05/04/2012 11:23 am Updated: 05/04/2012 4:08 pm



* New student sign-ups up 5 pct

* Q1 rev down 7 pct to $972.5 mln

* Kaplan rev down 11 pct to $553.4 mln

May 4 (Reuters) - The Washington Post Co posted a 7 percent fall in quarterly revenue, but new student enrollments at its core Kaplan education business rose for the second quarter.

New enrollments at Kaplan, which returned to growth last quarter after four straight quarters of declines, rose 5 percent, the company said in a statement.

Peers Corinthian Colleges Inc and Apollo Group Inc have warned of a challenging year ahead.

Washington Post Co did not give a forecast.

New student enrollments at for-profit education providers have been under pressure from last year after a government crackdown revealed unethical practices, low graduation rates and huge student debt loads.

Enrollment across the sector has started showing signs of picking up but the turnaround will likely take a while to stabilize.

Washington Post said it sold two Kaplan units, Kaplan Learning Technologies and EduNeering, in 2012. Last year, shareholders had pushed the management to sell some of its businesses, but CEO Don Graham was reluctant to do so.

First-quarter revenue at Kaplan fell 11 percent to $553.4 million.

WEAK AD SALES

Print advertising revenue and circulation fell 17 percent at the Washington Post newspaper, largely due to reductions in general, classified and preprint advertising, the company said in a statement. Advertising at its online businesses also fell.

Like most U.S. newspapers, Washington Post has been hit by falling advertising revenue and circulation as more readers switch to digital media.

But unlike the New York Times Co, the Post is yet to paywall its online content to tap into this reader shift.

First-quarter net income from continuing operations attributable to common stockholders fell to $10.8 million, or $1.37 per share, from $17.9 million, or $2.21 per share, a year ago.

Total revenue fell 7 percent to $972.5 million.

The company's shares, which have gained 22 percent in value since touching a year-low in October, were flat at $375.94 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Filed by Jack Mirkinson  |