Belo Corporation’s TV stations saw no auto ad cancellations in Q1 and a fairly small number so far in Q2. Nonetheless, CEO Dunia Shive is being conservative with growth projections due to the impact of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on manufacturing, particularly in the auto industry.
“Looking to the second quarter, while we have not yet seen a significant change in the overall pace of our business related to ongoing events in Japan, we do expect some level of disruption in the second quarter, particularly in the automotive category. While pacings currently reflect a higher percentage growth rate, we are currently estimating spot revenue, including political, to be flat to up low single digits in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the second quarter of 2010, due to the uncertainties surrounding auto supplies in the second quarter,” Shive told Wall Street analyst in her quarterly conference call.
For Q1 Belo reported that revenues declined 1.9% to $151.5 million. Total spot revenue, excluding political, was up 0.4%, with local up 2.1% and national down 2.7%. That was despite the lack of Super Bowl and Olympics revenues this year. Including political, spot sales were down 4.2% in Q1.
Other revenue, however, was up 10% in the quarter. That included Internet advertising and retransmission consent fees.
With the economy and business rebounding, Belo announced Wednesday that its board of directors had reinstated the dividend payments on Belo’s stock.