Washington Post to Add Paywall, A123 Auction Politically Sensitive: Consumer Biz Update

Thus far, The Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) has resisted charging readers for online access to articles, but knowledgeable sources think all that will change next year, as the newspaper might introduce a metered paywall which allows casual readers to read a small  number of stories free making a subscription fee necessary. The culprit is actually the paper’s sharp fall in its core business of print advertising, which helped generate an operating loss of $56.3 million for the first nine months of 2012, representing a 14 percent decline in revenue to $160.7 million. Peers such as The New York Times (NYSE:NYT) and Gannett Co.’s (NYSE:GCI) local papers, introduced paywalls in the past year, which generating increased circulation revenues that outweigh print advertising losses. The Wall Street Journal‘s website has had a paywall from its inception.

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The politically sensitive auction of the bankrupt maker of lithium-ion batteries A123 Systems (NASDAQ:AONE) was expected to begin on Thursday, featuring an American bidder against three or more foreign competitors for an entity that was partly funded with United States government money. The U.S. bidder, Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) of Milwaukee qualifies, but so does  Wanxiang Group Corp of China, along with Siemens, and NEC Corp of Japan, and perhaps others.

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