Belo Revenue Down 7% in Quarter

Earnings are "solid" despite local and national spot both down

Belo reported third quarter revenue of $152 million, down 7% from the same quarter a year ago.

Total spot revenue, excluding political, was down 2%, with local spot flat and national spot down 5%. Political revenue in the third quarter of 2011 was $2.1 million, compared to $11.2 million in the third quarter of 2010. Belo's total spot revenue, including political, was down 9% in the third quarter.

"Belo reported solid earnings for the third quarter of 2011, while cycling against more than $11 million of political revenue in the third quarter of 2010," said Dunia Shive, Belo president and CEO. "Excluding political, Belo's third quarter 2011 core spot revenue was down 2% from the prior year, with July being the softest month of the quarter and both August and September showing sequential improvement in year-to-year revenue comparisons."

The automotive category was flat in the third quarter.

Belo reduced its combined station and corporate operating costs by 3.7% in the third quarter, compared to last year's third.

Shive forecasted Belo's revenue being down in the low teens in the fourth quarter.

"With the automotive category continuing to show improvement, we are currently estimating spot revenue without political to be up 3-4% in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to the fourth quarter of 2010," she said. "Our stations generated $35.7 million of political revenue in the fourth quarter of 2010, which we will cycle against in the fourth quarter of 2011. As a result, we are currently estimating fourth quarter total revenue to be down in the low teens versus the prior year's fourth quarter."