Washington Post profit falls

Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:29am EST

(Reuters) - The Washington Post Co posted a lower quarterly profit due to falling advertising revenue at its flagship newspaper and its television business, but said new enrollments at its Kaplan for-profit colleges grew for the first time in five quarters.

New enrollments at its colleges rose 3 percent from low levels seen last year. New student sign-ups fell in the 30-45 percent range over the last four quarters.

Enrollments across the for-profit education industry fell last year after tough government rules on student debt prompted the schools to tighten their admission standards, or risk losing federal aid.

Peers like Apollo Group and Corinthian Colleges reported enrollment growth in their most-recent quarters and signaled a turnaround in 2012, after a year of sharp declines in profit and enrollment.

The education business accounts for almost 60 percent of Washington Post's total revenue.

The company's third-quarter net income fell to $61.7 million, or $8.03 a share, from $79 million, or $9.42 a share, a year ago.

Excluding special items, it earned $8.96 per share.

Revenue fell 10 percent to $1.06 billion.

Print advertising revenue fell 6 percent at the Washington Post. Revenue at the company's education, newspaper and television businesses fell, while the cable division was flat.

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)