Despite a drop in auto advertising and an off-year for political, Belo still managed to fill the gap in Q2. Total revenues rose 2.1% to $166.4 million.
“Belo’s spot revenue excluding political was up 2.4% in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the second quarter of 2010 despite disruption in the automotive category related to events in Japan. Automotive cancellations were within our initial expectations for the quarter, and we experienced strong performance in other key categories such as retail, healthcare and telecommunications. Excluding automotive revenue, our core spot revenue was up 5% in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the second quarter of 2010,” said CEO Dunia Shive.
Belo reported that local (excluding political) was up 2% and national 3.2%. That was despite a 6.6% drop in automotive advertising, due to the supply chain disruption. “Other” revenue, including retrans, Internet, network comp and barter, gained 5.6%, with the company reporting double-digit percentage gains for both retrans and Internet.
Station adjusted EBITDA was down 7% to $59.3 million.
Belo is guiding for Q3 to be flat for core advertising. “”We expect automotive spending to stabilize late in the third quarter with continued improvement in the fourth quarter. We are currently estimating spot revenue excluding political to be flat in the third quarter of 2011 compared to the third quarter of 2010. Our stations generated $11.2 million of political revenue in the third quarter of 2010 which we will cycle against in the third quarter of 2011. As a result, we are currently estimating third quarter total revenue to be down mid-single digits versus the prior year,” said Shive.