Q3 results for Belo Corporation’s television group bested both Q3 2011 and results for the last presidential election year. The gains were driven by political spending and the Olympics, and have the company thinking about acquisitions and other investments.
Belo President/CEO Dunia A. Shive said, “Our third quarter results were buoyed by record political and Olympics revenue. We generated $17.7 million in political revenue and $13.4 million in Olympics revenue in the third quarter of 2012, both of which were significantly higher than we recorded in the third quarter of 2008. Our total spot revenue, including political, grew 18 percent in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the third quarter of 2011, and our total revenue increased 16 percent. Station EBITDA grew almost 50 percent compared to the third quarter of 2011.”
The 16% revenue gain produced an actual dollar amount of $176M.
Excluding political, total spot revenue increased 5.1%, comprised of a 4.6% gain in local business and a 5.8% gain in national business.
Belo’s “other” category, which includes internet, retransmission consent fees, barter and trade advertising, enjoyed a 9% increase.
Shive was upbeat about Q4, saying, “We currently expect political revenue to finish in the range of $29 million to $30 million for the fourth quarter, which would result in $58 million to $59 million of political revenue for the full year. While crowd-out during the political period in October and the first week of November will impact our core spot revenue overall in the fourth quarter, core spot revenue is currently pacing up post the political period. Total spot revenue, including political, in the fourth quarter of 2012 is currently expected to finish up in the range of 11 to 13 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.”
Summing up, Shive commented, “Our strong cash generation has allowed for a special dividend and for the early redemption of our May 2013 notes in a net present value cash-positive transaction. Our solid financial position gives us the flexibility to pursue acquisitions and investments and consider further opportunities to increase shareholder returns.”