Belo Corporation upped its guidance for Q4 as CEO Dunia Shive spoke Tuesday (12/7) to the UBS 38th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York. Q4 spot revenues are now expected to be up 21%, a slight increase from the 20% gain forecast when Belo reported its Q3 results.
“Our strong financial performance has continued in the fourth quarter of 2010 on the strength of more than $35 million in political revenue. We currently expect political revenue to finish above $55 million for the full year. Based on current pacing trends, we expect total spot revenue to increase about 21% compared to the fourth quarter of 2009, which is up from our previous guidance. For the full year, we expect total spot revenue to be up about 18%. Also for full year, we currently expect total spot revenue excluding political to be up more than 9%,” Shive told the gathering.
The CEO confirmed previous guidance regarding operating costs saying, “In our last update for the fourth quarter of 2010, we said that on a reported basis, combined station and corporate operating costs were expected to be up approximately 12-13%. And, after excluding special items, that combined station and corporate operating costs were expected to be up less than 5%. We are confirming that same guidance today. For full year 2010, combined station and corporate operating costs are expected to be up around 6% compared to 2009.”
The company has been cutting its debt load this year. “We currently expect to reduce debt by another $40 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, which would result in full year debt reduction of approximately $120 million,” Shive said.
Of course, Wall Street is always more interested in the future. “We currently expect to see continued moderate recovery in advertising as long as the economy does not experience any unexpected setback. We expect spot revenue excluding political to grow in 2011, but at a more moderate rate than in 2010,” Shive said. “We expect combined station and corporate operating costs to grow at a low-to-mid single digit rate in 2011. There will be fluctuations in our expense variance quarter-to-quarter due to Nextel credits in the first half of 2010 and syndicated programming expense savings related to the Oprah show in the fall of 2011.”