June 24, 2003
Belo presents at the Mid-Year Media Review Conference
Dallas,TX-- Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC) presented at the Mid-Year Media Review in New York on Tuesday, June 24, 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 and a replay of the Webcast are available on Belo's Web site on the Investor Relations page at www.belo.com.
Presenting an overview of Belo's broadcast, newspaper and interactive operations were Robert W. Decherd, Belo's chairman, president and chief executive officer; Jack Sander, executive vice president/Media Operations; Dunia A. Shive, Belo's executive vice president/chief financial officer and James M. Moroney III, publisher and chief executive officer of The Dallas Morning News. Decherd said, "Belo's prospects for both the near-term and long-term are very promising because we have leading assets in great markets, our portfolio of assets is diverse, we are smartly leveraging our assets to develop incremental revenue streams and operating efficiencies, and we can be opportunistic in a changing media landscape."
In discussing Belo's second quarter financial performance, Shive said, "The revenue momentum the Company gathered in 2002 continued as 2003 began but, like most businesses, slowed in late February due to uncertainty related to armed conflict in Iraq. Momentum has been slow to return as advertisers sort out the effects of the war and the economy, and their effects on consumers.
"In April, the Television Group's spot revenues increased 6.3 percent as the Company's television stations benefited from the movement into April of advertising spots cancelled in March due to the war and related economic uncertainty. In May, spot revenues were down 1.8 percent partly due to difficult political comparisons. We currently expect June spot revenues to finish down about three percent. For the second quarter overall, we currently expect Television Group spot revenues to be flat to up slightly.
"Newspaper Group advertising revenues were flat in April compared to last year. May advertising revenues were up about 2.6 percent. In June, advertising revenues should be flat to down slightly. For the second quarter overall, we currently expect Newspaper Group advertising revenues to increase slightly.
"On the expense side, we expect total operating costs and expenses to increase about three percent in the second quarter of 2003 for the Company overall, with the biggest increases in pension and medical insurance costs.
"Other income and expense in the second quarter of 2003 will include approximately $2.0 million of incremental investment related to Belo's cable news joint ventures with Time Warner in Charlotte, Houston and San Antonio. Interest expense in the second quarter of 2003 should be about 12 percent less than the second quarter of last year. The Company's effective tax rate for the second quarter should be just under 39 percent.
"Based on these assumptions, we believe earnings per share for the second quarter of 2003 will be about $0.33. This compares to reported earnings per share of $0.36 in the second quarter of 2002, which included a non-cash credit of $0.02 per share primarily due to the resolution of certain contingencies related to asset sales in 2000.
"Spot revenue pacings for Belo's Television Group in July are currently stronger than May and June. At this point, we expect July spot revenues to be up in the low-single digits. July advertising revenue is also expected to be stronger at Belo's newspapers. We currently expect Newspaper Group advertising revenue to increase in the low-single digits in July."
Belo Corp. 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 13.7 percent of U.S. television households; owns or operates nine 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 Carey Hendrickson, vice president/investor relations, at 214-977-6606. Additional information, including earnings releases, is available online at www.belo.com.
Statements in this communication concerning the Company's business outlook or future economic performance, anticipated profitability, revenues, expenses, capital expenditures, investments, commitments, or other financial or operating 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; general economic conditions; and significant armed conflict, 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.