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WaPo Reduces Print Declines, Display Rises More Slowly

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The Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) Co.’s print revenue was flat in Q1, as advertising declines stabilized. Meanwhile, display growth rates for the newspaper site and The Slate Group were healthy, but are not as impressive as last year’s double-digit jumps.

While Q110 was a period of significant recovery for advertising after the devastating recession, it makes sense that things would cool down a bit at WaPo. Meanwhile, its newspaper rivals, including the New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT), Gannett (NYSE: GCI), McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) and others have all been struggling to one to degree or another with print revenues and milder display ad growth.

One plus for WaPo over last year is that it doesn’t have Newsweek dragging revenues further down anymore, since that’s now IAC’s issue to deal with. Apart from the news properties, WaPo’s Kaplan education division, which is where most of its revenues come from these days, has also been weakened by the soft economy; that segment’s performance has therefore had a little bigger impact on the company’s Q1 earnings.

With all that in mind, here’s the Q1 highlights from the news side:

— Newspaper publishing division revenue was flat at $155 million, as print advertising revenue at The Washington Post decreased 8 percent to $63.2 million. (The Q110 decline for print ad revenue was also 8 percent). The Post’s daily circulation slipped 2.9 percent and Post Sunday circulation dropped 3.4 percent.

— Revenue from the and Slate grew 8 percent to $25.7 million. Display ad dollars posted a 9 percent gain, as online classified advertising revenue on the newspaper’s website was up 6 percent.