Belo beats expectations


Belo CEO Robert Decherd hailed the company's TV group for "continued outstanding performance," with Q2 revenues up 2.5% to 198.2 million, while newspapers were down 8.5% to 192.3 million. Earnings per share of 35 cents beat the Thomson/First Call consensus by a healthy four cents. The outlook for Q3 is similar, with TV revenues expected to be up slightly, with newspapers down.

Belo's TV group was not without political revenues in Q2, booking 2.2 million this year against 5.1 million a year ago. Total spot revenue was up 1.1%, with local up 3.9% and national around 1%. In his conference call with analysts, Decherd noted particularly strong revenue growth for the websites associated with the Belo TV stations. Q2 revenues there were up 48% to seven million. TV EBITDA for Q2 was down 1.5% to 82.3 million. The company attributed that to the broadcast division absorbing its share of Belo's technology outsourcing. Newspaper EBITDA declined 6% to 42.5 million.

Decherd's conference call with analysts was conducted several hours before two Belo staffers were killed in a TV news helicopter crash in Phoenix.