In 2012, daily circulation at The Washington Post declined 8.6%, and Sunday circulation declined 6.2%; average daily circulation at The Washington Post totaled 471,800 and average Sunday circulation totaled 687,200.
The newspaper publishing division reported an operating loss of $53.7 million in 2012, compared to an operating loss of $21.2 million in 2011, after including pension expense of $42.4 million and $25.3 million, respectively. For the fourth quarter of 2012, the newspaper division reported operating income of $2.6 million, compared to operating income of $6.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, after including pension expense of $9.9 million and $8.1 million, respectively. Included in pension expense for 2012 was an $8.5 million Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program (VRIP) for certain employees and a $0.9 million fourth quarter charge at The Herald in connection with its withdrawal from a multiemployer pension plan. Included in pension expense in the fourth quarter of 2011 was a $2.4 million charge at The Herald in connection with its withdrawal from a multiemployer pension plan. In addition, voluntary severance and other early retirement expense of $9.0 million and $4.4 million was recorded at The Washington Post in 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2012, respectively.
The decline in operating results for 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2012 is primarily due to the revenue reductions discussed above and the increase in the combined early retirement, severance and multiemployer pension plan withdrawal expense, offset partially by a decline in other operating expenses. Newsprint expense was down 10% in 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2012 due to a decline in newsprint consumption.
In February 2013, the Company announced that it had signed an agreement to sell The Herald, a daily and Sunday newspaper headquartered in Everett, WA; the transaction is expected to close in March 2013.Television Broadcasting Revenue for the television broadcasting division increased 25% to $399.7 million in 2012, from $319.2 million in 2011; for the fourth quarter of 2012, revenue increased 32% to $116.2 million, from $88.3 million in 2011. Television broadcasting division operating income for 2012 increased 64% to $191.6 million, from $117.1 million in 2011. For the fourth quarter of 2012, operating income increased 54% to $62.8 million, from $40.9 million in 2011.