Irony Alert: Slate Group Claims Q1 Ad Revs Rose More Than 50 Percent

Jacob Weisberg, Chairman, Slate Group

Not all of the Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) Company’s publications are seeing a long list of declines: On the same day that its parent announced plans to sell struggling print Newsweek and Newsweek.com, the online-only Slate Group says that revenues were up 52 percent in Q1. The company didn’t break out specific numbers — and there was no mention of profits — with the news coming ahead of Friday’s Q1 earnings.

In a statement about Slate Group’s good fortunes, Jacob Weisberg, the unit’s chairman and editor-in-chief, said, “In a time when most publishers are cutting back on web journalism, The Slate Group is expanding.”

In addition to its flagship site, Slate Group includes The Root.com, TheBigMoney.com, and ForeignPolicy.com.

Considering the anticipation for huge traffic during the presidential inauguration in Q109, the increase in ad revs is a particular triumph for Slate Group, especially in light of its sibling’s struggles. In the meantime, Slate pointed to a 13 percent gain in traffic during Q1, as well as the addition of some new ad features. Among the ad highlights of Q1 was the revamped SlateV video channel, which had Ford as the exclusive sponsor.

Naturally, it’s a bit unfair to compare the fortunes of a print product founded in 1933 versus one that’s barely 15 years old and has much lower operating costs. But it does provide a small example of the opposing trends content pubs are seeing over the traditional and digital divide. It will be interesting to compare how well Slate is doing versus WaPo’s other online outlets when the full company reports its earnings.

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