Belo Stations Climb on Auto Recovery

DALLAS: Revenue from automotive advertising boosted Belo’s TV stations for the second quarter of 2010. Auto revenues were up 51 percent compared to a year ago, demonstrating continued upward momentum from the first quarter.

Belo posted net earnings of $19.5 million on revenues of nearly $163 million for the quarter ending June 30, 2010. For the year-ago period, Belo made $10.3 million on $144.8 million.

“Our revenue momentum, which began in late 2009, continued throughout the second quarter of 2010 resulting in a 15 percent increase in total spot revenue compared to the second quarter of 2009,” Belo chief Dunia A. Shive, said. “Our core spot advertising revenue, which excludes political, increased 14 percent in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the second quarter of 2009.

“The Company’s largest category, automotive, was up 51 percent in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the second quarter of 2009, an improvement from the year-to-year increase of 45 percent in the first quarter of 2010.”

Belo also had double-digit increases in grocery and food products, retail, healthcare, financial services and home improvement categories.

Political revenues were $2.5 million compared to $600,000 last year. Web site revenues increased 14 percent to $8.1 million. Retransmission totaled $11.7 million for 2Q10.

For 3Q10, Shive said political spending is expected to be “robust... which will cause some crowd-out of core spot revenue as is always the case when there are significant political dollars.”

Total spot for July is on target to finish up 13 or 14 percent; and could finish the quarter up in the high teens depending on political.

Belo finished the quarter with $6.9 million in cash and equivalents and nearly $990 million in long-term debt. As of Dec. 31, 2009, cash and equivalents was $4.8 million; LTD was more than $1 billion. Shares of Belo (NYSE: BLC) are trading at around $6.25, up 15 percent year-to-date.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

June 8, 2010
: “Belo Calls for Spectrum Inventory”
“We believe a full and complete inventory of all spectrum, and its current use, should be undertaken before any reallocation of television spectrum is determined.”

May 3, 2010: “Belo Earnings Rise 52 Percent”
“While political, Olympics and Super Bowl revenue all contributed to the year-over-year spot revenue increase, improved advertising conditions in several of the company’s largest categories were also factors, especially automotive, which was up 45 percent.”