Old Media Crumbles, Latest Example Is Washington Post Seeks to Sell Their HQ

Posted on Feb 4 2013 - 1:00am by Harrison

The New York Times renovated – then sold – their headquarters in New York City so they could pay down their growing debt.  They now rent the building they owned.  And they borrowed $250 million from Mexico’s Carlos Slim… at 14% interest!

Now add the Washington Post to the list of selling their headquarters to pay down debt:

Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth made the announcement in an e-mail to staff Friday morning, saying the goal was “to give us a more modern, bright, open and efficient building that better supports and advances our mission into the future.”

 While newspapers’ financial prospects have faded and their staffs slimmed, the prospects for their downtown real estate have improved.

That’s the spin from the Washington Post’s website meanwhile the Wall Street Journal (one of the few papers that’s seen its future improved) writes:

The Washington Post Co. is exploring the sale of its headquarters, the paper’s publisher told staff on Friday, making it the latest in a string of newspapers looking to shed real estate that has grown in value while their businesses shrank amid years-long declines in print advertising.

Meanwhile, the Post’s staff has shrunk nearly in half in the past 10 years, from over 1100 to around 600, as its core business of print advertising has fallen off along with the rest of the industry. And the drop shows no sign of abating. In the first nine months of last year, its newspaper division reported an operating loss of $53.6 million, and a 14% decline in revenue to $160.7 million.

Operating losses… declines in growth… and other publishers moving out of their downtown offices because of declining fortunes.

As print circulation has declined for almost all newspapers, digital editions have expanded.  But publishers are still struggling to discover a method of making money from their digital editions meanwhile their staffs are still set up for print.

According to the Alliance for Audited Media, the Washington post saw an 8.9% decline in circulation from September 2011 to September 2012.

Some of the numbers are skewed (the NY Times shows a 40% growth, for example) because the rules that stated what could count towords circulation changed and made it easier for publishers to pad their numbers.

Time magazine will be laying off nearly 500 people and and Newsweek no longer exists as a print medium.

One of the few companies to see an increase in their circulation?

The Wall Street Journal.

They veered Right while everybody else went Left (hard Left in the case of Newsweek).


1 Comment so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Steve Dennis February 4, 2013 at 1:40 AM -

    Doesn’t seem like a coincidence to me!
    Steve Dennis recently posted..Open thread for Sunday, February 3rd