May 2, 2001
Belo holds investor conference in New York at the Museum of Television & Radio
New York, NY-- Belo (NYSE: BLC) held an Investor Conference today, providing near-term guidance to the investment community on the Company's business strategies, financial performance and current operations.
Robert W. Decherd, Belo's chairman, president and chief executive officer, was joined by Jack Sander, executive vice president/Media Operations; Dunia A. Shive, executive vice president/chief financial officer; and Jim Moroney, president of Belo Interactive, in making presentations to more than 100 investors, financial analysts and media representatives concerning the Company's television, newspaper publishing, cable news and interactive operations.
Decherd outlined Belo's distinctive characteristics and how these translate into value. He stated: "Belo's high-quality assets drive revenue and operating cash flow, and we expect to generate $600 million in free cash flow before Belo Interactive over the next four years. This cash flow can be used in a number of ways including share repurchase, the extension of Belo's current businesses, and the creation of new businesses. We continue to look for ways to extend Belo's current franchises that are prudent from both a growth and return perspective."
Through acquisitions, Belo has concentrated its asset base in three high-growth regions -- Texas, the Northwest and the Southwest. Jack Sander highlighted the advantages of these clusters, and how Belo is benefiting from integrated sales and marketing approaches, operating efficiencies and powerful branding and cross-promotion opportunities. Sander noted that quality journalism and local community involvement provide the foundation for Belo's success.
Jim Moroney outlined the principal strategies for Belo Interactive's revenue growth including an expanded sales force, a ramp-up of classified advertising initiatives and registration of online customers. Belo Interactive's television-affiliated Web sites are number one or two in their markets, and DallasNews.com and Projo.com are the leading media Web sites in their markets, according to Nielsen Net Ratings.
Dunia Shive presented a recap of Belo's first quarter results and discussed recent business trends. Shive said: "Because of continued unfavorable economic conditions, we will not meet analysts' consensus estimate for the second quarter, which was $0.22 at the time of our first quarter earnings conference call. In April, we believe the Television Group's spot revenues will be down 6 percent, with local flat and national down about 12 percent.
May and June are currently pacing down at a higher percentage than April, but it is too soon to predict how these months will finish.
"The classified employment category, which deteriorated during the first quarter, continued to decline in April. As a result, Publishing Group revenue is trending down into the double-digits for the month. At The Dallas Morning News, classified auto and real estate continue to show strength, as does the general category, with the exception of .com advertising. Retail revenue is expected to be down only slightly in April.
"We are maintaining tight cost controls in the second quarter and for the balance of the year.
However, because of limited visibility, it is too soon to be definitive about the second quarter as a whole, and conditions could improve. We will provide second quarter guidance on revenue and earnings per share as the quarter progresses."
A replay of Belo's Investor Conference presentation and additional information on Belo, including earnings releases, is available online at www.belo.com.
Belo is one of the nation's largest media companies with a diversified group of market-leading broadcasting, publishing, cable and interactive media assets. A Fortune 1000 company with more than 8,500 employees and $1.5 billion in annual revenues, Belo operates news and information franchises in some of America's most dynamic markets and regions, including Texas, the Northwest, the Southwest, Rhode Island, and the Mid-Atlantic region. Belo owns 17 television stations (six in the top 17 markets) reaching 13.7 percent of U.S. television households; owns or operates six cable news channels; and manages three television stations through local marketing agreements. Belo publishes four daily newspapers including The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal and The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA.). Belo Interactive's new media businesses include 35 Web sites, several interactive alliances, and a broad range of Internet-based products. For more information, contact Dunia Shive, executive vice president/chief financial officer, Skip Cass, senior vice president, or Carey Hendrickson, Belo's vice president/investor relations, at 214-977-6606. Additional information, including earnings releases, is available online at www.belo.com.
Statements in this release concerning the Company's business outlook or future economic performance, anticipated profitability, revenues, expenses, capital expenditures or other financial items and other statements that are not historical facts, are "forward-looking statements" as the term is defined under applicable Federal Securities Laws. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those statements.
Such risks, uncertainties and factors include, but are not limited to, changes in advertising demand, interest rates and newsprint prices; technological changes; development of Internet commerce; industry cycles; changes in pricing or other actions by competitors and suppliers; regulatory changes; the effects of Company acquisitions and dispositions; and general economic conditions, as well as other risks detailed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), including the Annual Report on Form 10-K.