The Washington Post may be an iconic brand, but its pending sale to Jeff Bezos will have minimal effect, if any, on its sister Post-Newsweek TV stations, says Emily Barr, president and CEO of the six-station group.
The stations-in Houston, San Antonio, Detroit, Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami-are very much standalone brands in their communities, where the viewer may not even know they share corporate relations with the famed newspaper.
"Post-Newsweek is its own brand in its own right, and the stations have their own cache," says Barr.
The group is of course named for the Washington Post and Newsweek; the latter was sold by Washington Post Co. in 2010, and sold again August 3. The Washington Post sale is expected to close in 60 days. Yet Barr says a station group name change is unlikely, at least in the near term. "We can keep the name as long as we want," she says. "There's no urgency. If we ever did change the name, it will be because it makes sense from a business standpoint."
The Washington Post Company will change its name with the paper's departure. One option for the station group may be to switch to a name that is consistent with the company after the parent selects its new name.
Post-Newsweek had considered a name change when Newsweek was sold in 2010 before working out an agreement with then owner, IAC/InterActiveCorp, to keep the name. Then-Post-Newsweek president and CEO Alan Frank noted at the time that Post-Newsweek was more of a "business to business" brand, well known to syndicators, networks and equipment suppliers, than a "consumer-facing" one.
Washington Post Co. revenue for the second quarter, announced August 2, was just over $1 billion, up 3% from the second quarter of 2012. Post-Newsweek had revenue of $99.3 million, an increase of 4% over the same quarter a year ago. Subscription TV operator Cable One's operating income increased 9% to $47.7 million.
While word of the Washington Post's sale to Bezos, like many media deals this torrid summer, was a shocker, Barr says she's heard zero talk of a station group sale. "None," she says. "It's never been discussed."
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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