- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 15, 2001

The Washington Post, suffering from slumping advertising sales, will raise the price of its weekday and Saturday editions to 35 cents an issue, beginning Dec. 31.
The price of these editions last increased in 1981, when single-copy prices were raised to 25 cents from 20 cents.
Home-delivery prices and the price of the Post's Sunday edition, $1.25 per copy, will remain unchanged.
"Our business model, based on very high local readership, relies on a mix of advertising and circulation revenue. We needed to adjust the mix," Post Publisher Boisfeuillet Jones Jr. said in a statement.
The newspaper also cited expansion costs, including a bigger Metro section staff, as a reason for the increase.
The Post gets about 75 percent of its revenue from advertising sales and the rest from circulation, according to Prudential Securities analyst Steven Barlow. The newspaper's advertising revenue will shrink 11.5 percent to $619 million this year from $699.2 million in 2000, he estimated.
In addition to its flagship newspaper, The Washington Post Co. owns community newspapers, magazines, television stations, a cable television system and online and educational services. The company's net income dropped to $1.57 million (14 cents per diluted share) in the third quarter from $33.52 million ($3.51) a year earlier. Diluted shares reflect options, warrants and other securities convertible into common stock. Sales fell 1 percent to $595.5 million.
"The advertising-dependent parts of the business are not doing all that well," Mr. Barlow said.
The recession has hurt many big media companies. Businesses have slashed their advertising budgets, which has been painful for publishers and radio and television operations that depend on those dollars.
The Wall Street Journal said this month that it would add color to its front page and would introduce a new section, a move seen as an attempt to reverse a decline in advertising revenue.
Industry analysts said they were unaware of other major newspapers that have raised prices this year. Newspaper circulation often declines when prices rise, they said.
The Post's circulation slipped slightly between Oct. 1, 2000, and Sept. 30, 2001, according to preliminary figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, an independent group that monitors newspaper circulation.
The Post's weekday circulation fell nearly 1 percent to about 781,200 copies, according to bureau figures.
During the same period, The Washington Times' weekday circulation grew roughly 4 percent to about 105,400 copies, according to bureau figures.
Most daily newspapers in the United States charge 50 cents for their weekday and Saturday editions, according to the Newspaper Association of America trade group.
The New York Times charges 75 cents a copy and the Wall Street Journal charges $1 a copy for its weekday editions.
The Washington Times, which charges 25 cents a copy for its weekday and Saturday editions, has no immediate plans to raise the price, said Richard Amberg Jr., vice president and general manager.
However, the Times has not ruled out a price increase. "We are looking at the situation and studying it carefully," Mr. Amberg said.
A spokesman for the Journal newspapers, which publishes daily newspapers in the Washington suburbs, could not be reached yesterday.
The chain already has cut workers to reduce costs.
Other newspapers are laying off employees and cutting salaries.
Gannett Co., the McLean company that publishes USA Today and more than 90 community newspapers nationwide, said yesterday it has canceled pay raises for about 80 of its top executives next year.
Gannett, which employs 43,000 persons, has laid off 3.5 percent of its full-time employees and 13 percent of its part-time employees in an effort to cut costs, a spokeswoman told the Associated Press.
The Baltimore Sun will eliminate about 140 jobs because of a national downturn in advertising and other factors in the poor economy, the newspaper said yesterday.
Other companies, including Tribune Co. of Chicago and Knight Ridder Inc. of San Jose, Calif., have announced pay cuts and salary freezes.

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