WPO publishing profits down 28%; blogs boom
Friday, August 5th, 2005
As the NYT’s editorialists trivialize blogging as “a closed-circuit video camera that catches a glimpse of you walking by an electronics store window filled with televisions,” WPost’s second quarter was rocky:
Washington Post Co. (WPO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Friday said quarterly profit fell 7 percent, missing analysts’ estimates, as higher costs weighed on its newspapers and its television unit suffered from less political advertising.
The publisher of The Washington Post newspaper and Newsweek magazine said second-quarter profit fell to $78.8 million, or $8.16 a share, from $84.9 million, or $8.82 a share, a year earlier.
The earnings came in well below the average forecast of $9.64 a share among analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.
After the earnings report, the company’s shares fell nearly 5 percent.
Revenue was $897.6 million, up 10 percent from $818.4 million a year earlier, helped by stronger results in the educational division.
But income declined in the Washington Post’s newspaper, cable and television units.
With higher newsprint and payroll costs, newspaper division operating income declined 28 percent.
Does Buffett have the heart to desert his buddies on the WPost board? (A prior post on Buffett/WPO.)
Here’s an graph of the last 10 days trading:
As interest rates swivel higher (the returning 30 year bond, the floating RMB, oil grinding to $100/barrel), what’s the over-leveraged American consumer going to do?
More text of the NYT editorial:
Earlier this week, Technorati, a Web site that indexes blogs, released its semiannual “State of the Blogosphere” report. It records a steady, and astonishing, growth. Nearly 80,000 new blogs are created every day, and there are some 14.2 million in existence already, 55 percent of which remain active. Some 900,000 new blog postings are added every day – a steady increase marked by extraordinary spikes in new postings after incidents like the London bombing. The blogosphere – that is, the virtual realm of blogdom as a whole – doubles in size every five and a half months.
If the blogosphere continues to expand at this rate, every person who has Internet access will be a blogger before long, if not an actual reader of blogs. The conventional media – this very newspaper, for instance – have often discussed the growing impact of blogging on the coverage of news. Perhaps the strongest indicator of the importance of blogdom isn’t those discussions themselves, but the extent to which media outlets are creating blogs – or bloglike manifestations – of their own.
That is the serious side of the blogosphere. But blogs are often just a way of making oneself appear on the Internet. It’s like a closed-circuit video camera that catches a glimpse of you walking by an electronics store window filled with televisions. There you are in all your glory, suddenly, if not forever, mediated. Starting your own blog used to require a certain amount of technical expertise. Now you can do it from within popular Web portals like MSN and AOL, using tools that make it almost as easy as sending e-mail. These days, a surprising number of people write home by posting to their blogs – that is, by writing to everyone on earth.
It’s natural enough to think of the growth of the blogosphere as a merely technical phenomenon. But it’s also a profoundly human phenomenon, a way of expanding and, in some sense, reifying the ephemeral daily conversation that humans engage in. Every day the blogosphere captures a little more of the strange immediacy of the life that is passing before us. Think of it as the global thought bubble of a single voluble species.
Is anyone other than me amused by the press’ niave trumpetting of the “14 million blogs” number? Gee, actually only “55% remain active.” So 7.5 million is the number of actual blogs right? But what is active? Well, if you read Dave Sifry’s actual (excellent) report , “About 13% of all blogs are updated at least weekly.” So now we’re down to 1.8 million. But that isn’t so exciting for an NYT editorial. What about at least 5 times a week? Maybe that would put us at 100,000. What about 5 times a day? That would put us maybe at 10,000.
And those 10,000 are the bloggers journalists quote constantly, the bloggers with more than 500 readers a day, the bloggers who are disrupting connventional media.
Hey, wait, I’m a citizen journalist! I’m going to drop Dave Sifry an e-mail asking these questions since the rest of you are too hype-hopped to bother.