September 29, 2004
Belo updates investment community on operating strategy
Dallas, TX -- Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC) announced today that the Company's management has completed a review of Belo's operating strategy. The review concludes that Belo can best continue to build significant shareholder value by focusing on a few key priorities and initiatives. Particular emphasis will be placed on the operating units in Belo's largest markets, as well as other markets where the Company has strong competitive positions.
Robert W. Decherd, Belo's chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are committing to an enterprise-wide management philosophy that we believe is essential to succeeding in the competitive world that has evolved. By doing this well, Belo can gain important advantages in various business circumstances."
Belo will allocate at least $10 million from various expense categories to enable the key drivers of Belo's revenues and EBITDA to establish and maintain a greater marketing presence in their respective markets. Changes include:
The Company also noted the following:
Regarding Belo's financial results for the third quarter of 2004, Decherd said, "We are very close to the end of the third quarter and, while we are not yet able to provide specific amounts for the various one-time charges related to items described today, we expect Belo's third quarter earnings per share to be within the current range of analysts' estimates, absent these one-time charges. Given the benefit of Olympics and political revenue, August was the strongest revenue month in the third quarter for Belo's Television Group, while September will be the strongest revenue month within the quarter for the Newspaper Group, including The Dallas Morning News."
Decherd continued, "2005 will be a challenging year for most newspaper and local television companies. For Belo, in addition to the effects of the circulation overstatement on revenues and expenses at The Dallas Morning News that we've noted previously, the Super Bowl will be on FOX rather than one of the three networks where our affiliations are concentrated; there will be no Olympics revenue or significant political revenue; we will experience a modest reduction in network compensation; and, the overall U.S. economy may continue to perform unevenly.
However, I believe that the strategy focus described today prepares our Company not only for a year like 2005, but for more robust growth in years beyond. We have reason to believe, and every confidence, that Belo's revenue growth can consistently exceed that of our industry sectors, and that the Company's operating leverage can be maintained at the enhanced levels resulting from the initiatives outlined."
A conference call to discuss the Company's updated operating strategy, as well as the completed investigation of circulation matters at The Dallas Morning News, which was addressed in a separate release issued today, will be held for the investment community at 9 a.m. CDT today. The conference call will be simultaneously Webcast on the Company's Web site (http://www.belo.com/invest). Following the conclusion of the Webcast, a replay of the conference call will be archived on Belo's Web site. To access the listen-only conference lines, dial 1-877-777-1967. A replay line will be open from 4:00 p.m. CDT on September 29, 2004, until 11:59 p.m. CDT on October 6, 2004. To access the replay, dial 800-475-6701 or 320-365-3844. The access code for the replay is 748057.
A conference call for media will be held at 1 p.m. CDT today. The conference call will be simultaneously Webcast on the Company's Web site (http://www.belo.com/invest). Following the conclusion of the Webcast, a replay of the conference call will be archived on Belo's Web site. To access the question and answer conference lines, dial 1-877-209-9920. A replay line will be open from 4:00 p.m. CDT on September 29, 2004, until 11:59 p.m. CDT on October 6, 2004. To access the replay, dial 800-475-6701 or 320-365-3844. The access code for the replay is 748072.
For more information, contact Carey Hendrickson, vice president/Investor Relations, at 214-977-6626. Additional information, including earnings releases, is available online at www.belo.com.
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 7,900 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 15 markets) reaching 13.8 percent of U.S. television households; owns or operates seven cable news channels; and manages one television station through a local marketing agreement. Belo's daily newspapers include 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 more than 30 Web sites, several interactive alliances and a broad range of Internet-based products.
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; the current audit by the Audit Bureau of Circulations of The Dallas Morning News' circulation; 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.