Belo Corporation reported that Q2 revenues were up 13% to $163 million, with spot revenues, including political up $15%. CEO Dunia Shive reported that July is going to finish up 13-114%, so she is upbeat as Belo heads into the heavy political spending season.
“Our revenue momentum, which began in late 2009, continued throughout the second quarter of 2010 resulting in a 15% increase in total spot revenue compared to the second quarter of 2009. Our core spot advertising revenue, which excludes political, increased 14% in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the second quarter of 2009. This was an improvement from the year-to-year increase of 12% in core spot advertising revenue we experienced in the first quarter of 2010, which included Olympics and Super Bowl revenue. The Company’s largest category, automotive, was up 51% in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the second quarter of 2009, an improvement from the year-to-year increase of 45% in the first quarter of 2010. We also experienced double-digit increases in several large categories like grocery and food products, retail, healthcare, financial services and home improvement,” said Shive.
“Political revenue of $2.5 million in the second quarter of 2010 increased $0.6 million from the second quarter of 2009, but was significantly less than the first quarter of 2010 due to the timing of political primaries in our markets. The company’s station EBITDA was $64 million in the second quarter of 2010, a 28% increase over the second quarter of 2009, and our station EBITDA margin in the second quarter of 2010 was 39%,” the CEO added.
Belo saw a steady increase in its digital business, with revenues from its Internet sites up 14% to $8.1 million in the quarter.
Looking to the third quarter, Shive said, “We continue to expect robust political spending in the third quarter and throughout the back half of the year, which will cause some crowd-out of core spot revenue as is always the case when there are significant political dollars. Total spot revenue in July is expected to finish up 13 to 14 percent, continuing the positive trend we have seen throughout 2010. The months of August and September are expected to have greater political revenue than July and are currently pacing above the July level. Based on these pacing trends, total spot advertising revenue could increase in the high teens in the third quarter of 2010 compared to the third quarter of 2009 depending on the strength of political revenue.”