Belo Corp. reported that total third quarter revenue was down 17.7% from the same quarter last year. Total spot revenue, including political, was down 21.5%, with a 15% decrease in local and 18% decrease in national spot. Third quarter revenues were affected by "the soft advertising environment, particularly in the automotive category which was down 36% compared to the third quarter of 2008," Belo said in a statement.
The company was also hurt by the lack of political and Olympic revenue, compared to last year.
Advertising revenue on Belo's Web sites decreased 7.2% to $7.4 million in the third quarter. Retransmission revenue totaled $10.6 million and represented 7.5 percent of the Company's total revenue for the period.
Belo President/Chief Executive Officer Dunia A. Shive pointed out that Belo's third quarter performance was better than its second quarter. "The company's total revenue decline of 17.7% was an improvement over second quarter's revenue decline of 23% and is noteworthy given the significant political and Olympics revenue generated in the third quarter of 2008," she said. "Spot revenue, excluding political, declined 16% in the third quarter of 2009, an improvement from the 28% decline experienced in the second quarter of 2009."
Shive said Belo generated $35 million in consolidated EBITDA in the third quarter while reducing its debt by $27 million.
Total station expenses decreased 11 percent in the third quarter due primarily to "the continued implementation of cost-saving measures."