The Washington Post Co. will mount an aggressive push to transform its newspaper Web site into a local Internet portal, a top executive said today.
Speaking at the Mid-Year Media Review, an annual meeting of publishers and Wall Street analysts, Post Co. president and chief operating officer Alan G. Spoon said an effort to recast washingtonpost.com, the Web site of the company's flagship newspaper, into a regional Internet portal will begin soon.
The effort will "cost millions," he said, but "should chase more revenues into the shop."
Russell T. Lewis, chief executive of the New York Times Co., who also spoke at the meeting, said the Times intends to build an Internet portal site targeting upscale users.
Spoon said The Washington Post has credibility with an international audience and world leaders, who would turn to the Web site for information. In addition to the contents of the newspaper, Spoon said The Post's Web site will encompass lifestyle news and information of a regional focus.
The company also is considering whether it should spin off its Kaplan Educational Centers unit or some of its Internet investments.
Spoon told the audience that the Kaplan unit had projected 1999 revenue of more than $273 million. He said the unit should function well either as a company subsidiary or as a public company. Internet investments are also a potential candidate for a public spinoff, Spoon said.
While the Times already operates about 50 World Wide Web sites, its new portal will be designed to direct upscale consumers to high-quality products and services, Lewis said. He said the company would release more information on the product "in the weeks and months ahead."
Aside from its flagship newspaper's Web site, the Times Co. operates a site for the Boston Globe, a site devoted to wine, and one centering on New York entertainment and lifestyle. The Times Co. also holds a minority stake in the personal finance and investing site TheStreet.com.