April 24, 2002
Belo reports results for First Quarter 2002
Dallas, TX --Belo (NYSE: BLC) today reported first quarter earnings per share of $0.13 before a non-recurring gain, $0.03 better than analysts' consensus estimate.
Reported earnings per share of $0.15 in the first quarter included a gain of $2.4 million, or $0.02 per share, related to Belo's sale of its interest in the Dallas Mavericks and American Airlines Center. At the beginning of 2002, Belo adopted Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No. 142, which changes the accounting for goodwill and intangible assets. The Company's previously reported earnings per share of $0.01 for the first quarter of 2001 included $0.10 for goodwill amortization expense, net of tax, that would not have been required had the new Statement been in effect. Comparable earnings per share in the first quarter of 2001, therefore, would have been $0.11.
Results of Operations
The following table summarizes Belo's first quarter performance.
Three months ended March 31,
Net operating revenues
Operating cash flow
Segment operating cash flow
Earnings per share
First Quarter in Review
Robert W. Decherd, Belo's chairman, president, and chief executive officer, said, "While it is premature to say that an economic recovery is underway, business conditions are improving. We saw positive signs in our core businesses in the first quarter, and are encouraged by what we are seeing so far in the second quarter. In the first quarter, Newspaper Group revenues finished higher than initially expected and total cash expenses were better than expected. Belo's great franchises and durable brands place the Company in an enviable position as advertising revenues stabilize and improve."
Belo's Television Group revenues decreased 2.0 percent in the first quarter with a 2.1 percent decrease in spot revenue. Both local and national revenues were down 5 percent. Political revenues were $4.2 million, compared to $400,000 in the prior year. Belo's NBC affiliates generated $9 million of Olympics revenue in the first quarter. Cash expenses for the Television Group were about 1 percent better than last year due to continued cost controls. Operating cash flow decreased 3.8 percent for the quarter.
In the Newspaper Group, total revenue decreased 5.4 percent in the first quarter, with advertising revenue down 6.6 percent. The first quarter of 2002 included one more Sunday than the first quarter of 2001. Adjusting for the extra Sunday in 2002, total revenue would have been down approximately 8.2 percent. Newspaper Group cash expenses were 8.5 percent better in the first quarter of 2002 compared to the first quarter of 2001.
Newsprint expense was 26.9 percent better than last year and all other cash expenses were better by 3.0 percent. Operating cash flow increased 5.6 percent versus the prior year.
Total revenue at The Dallas Morning News was down 8.2 percent in the first quarter with advertising revenue down 9.4 percent. Adjusting for the extra Sunday in the first quarter of 2002, total revenue at The Dallas Morning News was down about 10.9 percent. The revenue decline was primarily the result of continued weakness in classified employment advertising. Employment revenue decreased 48.8 percent in the first quarter, an improvement from the fourth quarter decline of 59.7 percent. Retail revenue was up 3.5 percent in the first quarter and classified auto and real estate revenues were up 14.2 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively.
General advertising revenue was down 9.2 percent. Belo Interactive generated $4.0 million in revenue during the first quarter, compared to $2.9 million in the first quarter of 2001, an increase of 37.8 percent. Cash expenses were $6.9 million compared with $7.3 million in the first quarter of last year. The Company's net investment in Belo Interactive operations in the first quarter was $2.9 million compared with $4.4 million in the first quarter of 2001.
Belo Interactive recorded 90 million page views per month in the first quarter of 2002. This is up from 82 million page views in the fourth quarter and 73 million page views in the first quarter of 2001. The number of unique visitors per month in the first quarter was 5.7 million, an increase of 30 percent over the 4.4 million unique visitors in the first quarter of last year.
Revenue at Belo's cable news operations decreased 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2002 to $3.8 million. Total cash expenses were flat with the prior year, thus the Company's net investment was slightly higher than the prior year.
Second Quarter 2002 Outlook
Dunia A. Shive, Belo's executive vice president and chief financial officer, said, "In April, we believe the Television Group's spot revenues will be flat to up 1 percent. While current pacings indicate similar trends in May and June, it is too soon to be definitive about the Television Group's second quarter revenue overall. In the Newspaper Group, we currently expect the rate of revenue decline in the second quarter to be considerably less than the first quarter. Classified employment volume at The Dallas Morning News will be down 40 to 45 percent in April, an improvement over the 55 percent average volume decline in the first quarter.
"On the expense side, Belo continues to benefit from the comprehensive cost-reduction measures implemented during 2001 and lower newsprint expense. Total cash expenses in the second quarter of 2002 should be about 1 percent better than the second quarter of last year."
The Company will give further guidance with respect to revenues, expenses and earnings per share for the second quarter at Belo's Investor Day in New York on May 14th. Please contact Carey Hendrickson, Belo's vice president/Investor Relations at 214-977-6606 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this event.
Belo is one of the nation's largest media companies with a diversified group of market-leading television, newspaper, cable and interactive media assets. A Fortune 1000 company with approximately 7,800 employees and $1.4 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 19 television stations (six in the top 16 markets) reaching 13.9 percent of U.S. television households; owns or operates six cable news channels; and manages one television station through a local marketing agreement. 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.