June 19, 2001
Belo presents at the Mid-Year Review Conference
Dallas, TX -- Belo (NYSE: BLC) presented at the Mid-Year Media Review in New York on Tuesday, June 19, at 4:00 p.m. EDT, providing near-term guidance to the investment community on the Company's business strategies, financial performance and current operations.
The full text of the presentation is accessible on Belo's Web site from the News Releases page at http://www.belo.com and a replay of the Webcast is available at http://www.midyearmediareview.com through July 3.
Presenting an overview of Belo's television, publishing and interactive operations were Robert Decherd, Belo's chairman, president and chief executive officer, and Dunia Shive, Belo's executive vice president/chief financial officer. Decherd said, "Belo owns a group of superior assets that are regionally clustered in outstanding markets.
These geographic clusters provide us with clear-cut operating advantages that we are leveraging in a number of ways.
We are capitalizing on branding and cross-promotion opportunities, sharing newsgathering resources, selling integrated marketing programs and gaining operating efficiencies, all of which are resulting in important benefits to our audiences, our advertisers and our Company. We are also investing in important extensions of Belo's core businesses that provide us with opportunities to generate incremental revenue streams and further enhance shareholder value."
Belo provided guidance on the second quarter, noting that the quarter will include two nonrecurring charges. Because of continuing deterioration of financing for Internet-related companies, Belo expects to write down substantially all of its remaining $33 million investment in Internet-related companies.
The largest part of this relates to Digital Convergence, which last Friday shifted into a maintenance mode in order to extend its current funding as long as possible. And, as a result of early retirements, most notably Burl Osborne, and corporate staff reductions, the Company will record a charge of 2 to 3 cents per share in the second quarter.
In discussing Belo's financial performance, Shive said, "Although we are facing a challenging year, on a comparative basis Belo's revenue performance in broadcasting has been at the top of the peer group this year. And, The Dallas Morning News' performance has generally been in line with other large metropolitan newspapers with large classified employment categories."
In the Television Group, on a pro forma basis, April spot revenues were down 5.9 percent and May revenues were down 11 percent. June is currently pacing down in the mid- to high-single digits. For the second quarter overall, total Television Group spot revenues are expected to be down about 8 percent, and, due to tight cost controls, cash expenses are expected to be down slightly, with a resulting decrease in operating cash flow in the mid-teens.
In the Newspaper Group, the classified employment category has continued its decline in the second quarter and total revenue is expected to be down in the high-single digits, on a pro forma basis. Total cash expenses for the Newspaper Group are expected to be down about 2 percent as a result of stringent cost controls. Newspaper operating cash flow is expected to decline in the mid-20s in the second quarter.
Because of continued unfavorable advertising conditions, the Company is maintaining tight cost controls in the second quarter and for the balance of the year. With respect to employment costs, which comprise about one-half of Belo's consolidated cash expenses, the Company has placed a hold on filling job vacancies and has implemented hiring freezes except for a limited number of critical positions.
In the second quarter, total pro forma cash expenses are expected to be down 1 to 2 percent, and earnings per share are expected to be in the range of 13 to 14 cents before non-recurring charges. Current analysts' estimates fall in the range of 10 to 19 cents, with most of the analysts in the range of 13 to 16 cents.
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: The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal, The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA.) and the Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, TX.). 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, Belo's executive vice president/chief financial officer, or Carey Hendrickson, Belo's vice president of investor relations, at 214-977-6606. Additional information, including earnings releases, is available online at www.belo.com.