Belo Corp. reported total revenue of $156 million in the first quarter of 2012, 3% higher than the first quarter of 2011. Total spot revenue, excluding political, was up 1%, with a 4% increase in local spot and a 5% decrease in national. Spot growth came from strength in the automotive and retail categories.
Belo's political revenue in the first quarter totaled $1.6 million, or $1.2 million more than the first quarter of 2011. Total spot revenue, including political, was up 2% in the first quarter of 2012.
"With the savings related to the conclusion of the Oprah show last fall and continued expense management, combined station and corporate operating costs were lower than the first quarter of last year," said Dunia Shive, Belo president and CEO. "Our station adjusted EBITDA grew 16% compared to the first quarter of 2011 and our station adjusted EBITDA margin was 35%."
Double-digit increases in Internet and retransmission revenue helped offset a $1.7 million decrease in network compensation, which Belo said it is no longer receiving beginning in 2012. Belo said it received $1.3 million in network comp in the second quarter of 2011, though it did not specify which network(s) was paying out.
Station salaries, wages and employee benefits increased 3%. Station programming and other operating costs were down $4.9 million, or 10%, in the quarter.
Belo forecasted second quarter total revenue to be up 3-4%, including an estimated $4-$5 million in political revenue.