July 26, 2001
Belo reports results for Second Quarter 2001
Dallas, TX -- Belo(NYSE: BLC) today reported second quarter earnings per share before non-recurring charges of $0.13, in line with analysts' consensus estimate.
Earnings per share were $0.27 in the second quarter of 2000. The Company earned $0.54 in after-tax cash flow per share before non-recurring charges for the second quarter, compared with $0.66 in the second quarter of last year.
Reported earnings per share were break-even in the second quarter including two non-recurring charges. Due to continuing deterioration of financing for Internet-related companies, Belo recorded a charge of approximately $29 million, or 11 cents per share, related to a write-down of the Company's investments in certain Internet-related companies. And as a result of early retirements, most notably Burl Osborne, former president/Publishing Division and publisher of The Dallas Morning News, and corporate staff reductions, the Company recorded a charge of $4.5 million, or 2 cents per share, in the second quarter.
The following table summarizes Belo's second quarter performance. To take into account dispositions in 2000, segment financial highlights are also presented on an "as adjusted" basis:
AS ADJUSTED 1
Three months ended June 30,
Three months ended June 30,
Net operating revenues
Operating cash flow
Segment operating cash flow
After-tax cash flow per share 2
Earnings per share
(1) Revenues and operating cash flows for 2000 have been adjusted for the following dispositions: The Gleaner in Henderson, Kentucky; The Eagle in Bryan-College Station, Texas; Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro, Kentucky; and KOTV (CBS) in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
(2) After-tax cash flow per share is net earnings plus depreciation and amortization divided by the average shares outstanding. After-tax cash flow per share in 2001 excludes the non-cash charge associated with the write-down of certain Internet-related investments of $0.11.
Robert W. Decherd, Belo's chairman, president and chief executive officer said, "As the market is well aware, the difficult economic conditions that prevailed in the first quarter continued throughout the second quarter. The soft advertising environment, coupled with significant declines in .com advertising dollars, continued to adversely affect revenue at Belo's television stations and newspapers.
National revenues at our television stations and classified employment revenue at The Dallas Morning News experienced the most significant declines.
However, Belo's Television Group continues to perform at the top of the network-affiliate segment and the advertising revenue performance of The Morning News continues to be in line with, and in several cases better than, other major metropolitan newspapers with large classified employment businesses."
Decherd added, "We continue to work at the corporate level to take advantage of investment opportunities and important long-term relationships. We have just announced the formation of Belo's third local cable news partnership with Time Warner Cable -- this one in the fast growing Charlotte market. We have entered into an agreement to acquire KSKN-TV, the LMA Belo has been operating in Spokane, Washington, for $5 million. KSKN is the UPN affiliate in Spokane. We have further advanced key partnerships with other media companies in markets where cooperation can yield advantages for both Belo and these partners. We have agreed to sell advertising time in the Seattle/Tacoma and Portland markets for Pax, and have completed an attractive 12-year network affiliate agreement with NBC for all of Belo's NBC affiliates."
Regarding Belo's second quarter performance, Decherd noted, "On an as-adjusted basis, total Television Group revenues were down 7.9 percent in the second quarter with an 8.1 percent decrease in spot revenues. Local television revenues were down 2.9 percent while national revenues were down 13.5 percent. Excluding political revenue in both years, spot revenues were down 7.1 percent.
Cash expenses for the Television Group were 2.8 percent less than last year due to continued stringent cost controls. Television Group cash flow decreased 13.5 percent for the quarter.
"Our television stations maintained their strong competitive positions. Based on May Nielsen ratings, Belo's major market stations in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Seattle/Tacoma and Phoenix were all ranked first in their markets.
"Total Newspaper Group revenues decreased 10.3 percent in the second quarter on an as-adjusted basis, with advertising revenues down 11.7 percent. Newspaper Group cash expenses were down 5.3 percent on an as-adjusted basis compared to the second quarter of 2000 due to tight cost controls. As a result, operating cash flow for the Newspaper Group was down 22.2 percent in the second quarter.
"Total revenues at The Dallas Morning News were down 12.4 percent in the second quarter.
Advertising revenues were down 13.4 percent, primarily due to significant weakness in classified employment advertising and lower .com spending. Classified employment revenues were down 44 percent with a 49 percent decrease in employment linage.
General advertising revenues were down 10.8 percent in the second quarter, due to lower .com advertising, while retail revenues were down 5.2 percent. Total cash expenses at The Morning News decreased 4.8 percent.
"The continued soft advertising environment compounds the challenge the Television Group already faces in the third quarter as we cycle against $10.5 million of Olympics revenue and $13.3 million of political revenue. We currently expect spot revenue to be down in the high-single digits in July. As for the remainder of the third quarter, visibility is difficult.
In the Newspaper Group, we expect third quarter total revenues to be down at a rate similar to the second quarter, with continued weakness in classified employment.
"Belo Interactive's Web sites generated $3.4 million in revenue during the second quarter, compared to $2.5 million in the second quarter of 2000. The net investment in Belo Interactive's operations in the second quarter was $5.2 million compared with $3.7 million in the second quarter of 2000. Belo Interactive recorded approximately 84 million page views per month in the second quarter of 2001. This is up from the first quarter's 73 million page views and an 80 percent increase over the 47 million page views in the second quarter of 2000. The number of unique visitors per month in the second quarter was 5.0 million, an increase of almost 50 percent over the 3.4 million unique visitors in the second quarter of last year.
"We will maintain very tight cost controls in the third quarter and for the balance of the year.
Employment costs are being aggressively addressed through attrition, and vacancies are being held open except for a limited number of critical positions. The 2001 capital budget has been reduced for the second time this year to $80 million -- 30 percent less than the original capital plan of $112 million. However, because advertising trends are not improving, we will not meet the current analysts' consensus estimate of $0.11 for the third quarter. We will provide further guidance with respect to revenue and earnings per share when we get deeper into the third quarter."
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 8,000 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 34 Web sites, several interactive alliances, and a broad range of Internet-based products. For more information, contact Dunia Shive, Belo's executive vice president and 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 http:/www.belo.com.
Statements in this communication 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.