A New York magazine piece in June detailing Washington Post’s Jeff Bezos/Martin Baron-era innovations came with an acknowledgement that Bezos’ post-purchase financial investment would not be forever. “Other publications are trying similar things, but the Post has a bigger budget than most to play with,” wrote Gabriel Sherman. There was a but, however:
This might not always be the case if the Post doesn’t eventually turn a profit. Bezos is said to have invested $50 million in the company last year, according to sources. “He wants us to prove ourselves,” says Prakash. As does — in a reversal of the old circulation wars — the rest of the industry, which finds itself rooting for a tech titan to figure out how to disrupt it.
It only took about half a year, according to a staff memo from publisher Fred Ryan, in which he wrote that the Post “will finish this year as a profitable and growing company.”
Contributing to that is an increase in subscriptions, which many publications, including the New York Times, have experienced this election cycle, but also an increase in revenue from digital advertising. Digital subscriptions are up 75 percent since the beginning of the year and digital ad revenue is up 40 percent compared to last year, according to Ryan’s memo.
That financial boon will translate into more newsroom jobs and an expansion of the Post’s multimedia efforts:
Our newsroom is larger this year than last year, and it will grow even more next year. Among the additions will be a new rapid-response investigative team, enhancing our already strong investigative unit. We will substantially expand our video journalism, which has already exceeded all projections and is becoming a key storytelling platform. Additional positions will be added to our breaking-news team, and we will add staff to work on alerts and newsletters. We are adding resources to the Washington Post Talent Network, which has been a very effective tool for expanding the reach of our newsroom. Additional investments will be made in podcasts, in our superb photo team and to support other newsroom initiatives.
Read the full memo here.