‘Soft Advertising’ Spells 2% Revenue Drop at Belo

Political Revenue, Ad Revenue from Web Sites See Gains

Belo reported earnings per share of $0.10 from continuing operations for the first quarter, before spinoff-related charges, compared with $0.15 in the first quarter of 2007. Total revenues decreased 2% in the first quarter compared with the same quarter a year ago. Total spot revenue, including political, was down 5%.

Political revenue in the quarter was $5.1 million, up $4.3 million versus the same quarter in 2007. Ad revenue on the Belo Web sites was up 32% to $6.9 million in the first quarter.

Belo completed a spinoff of its newspaper businesses earlier this year.

President and CEO Dunia Shive cited a weak ad market in reporting the earnings.

"While Belo's results were highlighted by strong first-quarter political revenues and continued impressive growth in its online businesses, soft advertising conditions contributed to a 2% decline in first-quarter total revenue,” she said. “In addition, the company cycled against a very strong performance in first-quarter 2007, which included the airing of the Super Bowl on our five CBS affiliates in 2007 versus our one Fox affiliate in 2008."