Belo Corp. announced fourth quarter revenue of $180 million, down 13% compared to the same quarter in the previous year. A $30 million decrease in political revenue in the 2011 fourth spelled the difference for Belo, which reported a 3% increase in core spot revenue.
The automotive category delivered its strongest quarter of the year, said Dunia Shive, Belo Corp.'s president and CEO. "We're pleased to see that momentum continue into the first quarter of 2012," she added.
Combined station and corporate operating costs were down 6% in the fourth quarter of 2011 for Belo, with Oprah Winfrey off the books and the company continuing to trim costs.
Retransmission and Internet advertising revenue continued to produce double-digit growth.
Local spot revenue was up 6% in the quarter, while national spot decreased 3%. Total spot revenue, including political, was down 15% in the fourth quarter of 2011 versus 2010. Belo's total revenue for the year was $650 million for full year 2011, a decrease of 5%.
Belo expects first quarter 2012 total revenue to be up 3-5%, depending on the timing of the Texas primary, which may be moved later than its current April 3 date. "We would expect first quarter total revenue to be on the higher end of the range if the dispute is resolved quickly and the primary is held on April 3," said Shive.