Belo Reduces Earnings Outlook

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(AP) Media company Belo reduced its first-quarter earnings outlook Monday, citing an advertising slowdown in the last half of March because of the war in Iraq.

The owner of The Dallas Morning News, three other daily newspapers, and 19 television stations said that earnings would be similar to last year’s first quarter, when Belo earned 13 cents per share before a one-time gain of 2 cents per share from selling a stake in a basketball team and arena.

The company had previously forecast 15 cents to 16 cents per share for the three months ending March 31.

“Since the war began, Belo’s operating units, like other advertising-related businesses, have experienced further disruption to normal advertising spending patterns,” Robert W. Decherd, Belo’s chairman, president, and chief executive, said. “Some advertisers have delayed or canceled advertising plans since the war began and certain television advertisers have limited advertising to specific kinds of programming.”

Also on Monday, publisher Pulitzer Inc. said its first-quarter earnings could be below analysts’ estimates. Last week, Gannett Co. Inc., publisher of USA Today and many other newspapers and broadcast stations, cut its earnings outlook for the first quarter. Both companies cited the war’s effect on advertising demand.

Belo is scheduled to release financial results April 23.

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