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WaPo, owned by Jeff Bezos, is on track to lose money as digital subscriptions and ad revenue stagnate
The Washington Post, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, has lost millions of dollars in revenue, with the paper reportedly discussing the possibility of cutting 100 jobs and buying The Guardian and Associated Press.
Sources familiar with the company’s finances told the… New York Times that The Post now has fewer than the three million digital subscribers it hailed in 2020, and that digital ad revenue fell to $70 million in the first half of 2022, a 15 percent drop from last year.
Fred Ryan, the chief executive and publisher, would also put forward the idea of cutting 100 positions from the newsroom, which currently employs about 1,000 employees.
Other executives have also suggested plans to make The Post the “definite source of news and information for the English-speaking world,” including talks about the acquisition of The Guardian, AP and The Economist.
The Washington Post saw its digital ad revenue drop to $70 million in the first half of 2022, a 15 percent drop from last year. Many are frustrated with the leadership of CEO Fred Ryan (left) who was appointed by billionaire Jeff Bezos (right)
The Washington Post saw a boom in business after Bezos bought the outlet in 2013. Its extensive coverage of the Trump administration gained the newspaper three million subscribers in 2020, but has since declined
In the years after Bezos bought The Post in 2013, the company saw significant business growth, with its newsroom doubling in size as it recruited hundreds of new journalists.
But while the paper received a boost in subscriptions and readership, it declined in early 2021, after Donald Trump left the presidency.
The Post, which saw a surge in activity from its extensive coverage of the Trump administration, struggled to bounce back when Trump left office, sources told the Times.
They said many had become frustrated with Ryan’s leadership, who had been appointed by Bezos, for failing to expand and diversify the outlet’s coverage at that critical time.
Sources claim Ryan has been a controversial figure in the office, with many concerned about his direction for the company.
They added that the publisher has been monitoring how many people are entering the office after COVID restrictions were lifted and is now considering threats to fire those who continue to work from home.
The losses would be compounded with the 100 new positions reportedly at risk.
A Post spokeswoman said the outlet is not looking at layoffs, but would instead add jobs and “explore positions that should be repurposed to serve a larger, national and global audience.”
The spokeswoman added that the Times report gave an incomplete picture of The Post’s affairs, but did not say how.
Washington Post executives have discussed buying The Guardian (left) and The Associated Press (right) to grow the brand globally, but Ryan has reportedly put plans on hold, much to the frustration of his marketing team
Bezos, ushering in a new era for the newspaper (pictured in 2016), left the company to Ryan, who, according to sources, is hitting on employees and executives at The Post
Sources said Bezos was a regular at The Post for the first few years after purchasing the paper, but his visits have become a rarity after the COVID-19 shutdown.
Running the paper has fallen to Ryan, 67, a former Reagan administration official and chief executive of Politico.
Last year, sources said Ryan had an internal Strategic Review Team with The Post’s executive team, with several executives concluding that the newspaper would need to buy global rivals to expand its brand oversight.
However, Ryan has reportedly put the plan on the back burner, much to the frustration of The Post’s marketing team, sources told the Times.
The sources added that the newspaper hired a team of marketers for advertising purposes, but several ads were never shown.
The alleged problems at The Post come after several journalists covering the pandemic wrote to Ryan about his effort to crack down on working from home.
“Such decisions are highly personal and have consequences,” the letter said, “and we urge management to allow employees to make these decisions without fear of punishment from their employer.”