Tribune Stock Falls on Revenue Decline

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(AP) Shares in Tribune Co. tumbled Thursday after the media company reported a 6.1% drop in revenue last month on declines in both its newspaper and television businesses.

Tribune, whose holdings include 26 television stations, 11 urban U.S. dailies and Spanish-language Hoy, said December revenue fell to $539 million from $574 million a year earlier.

The company’s stock fell $1.01, or 3.2%, to $30.80 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Tribune shares sank 28% in 2005.

Revenue from the publishing unit, consisting of its newspapers, dipped 4.2% to $413 million from $431 million in December 2004. The company said about $6 million of that $18 million drop was due to the timing of Christmas on Sunday and the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma in Florida.

Advertising revenue in the publishing division fell 4.5%to $333 million, down from $349 million. The decline included a 5.2% decrease in retail ad revenue and a 9.6% decline in national ad revenue, mainly at the Los Angeles Times. Classified ad revenue edged up 2.5%.

Circulation revenue was down 3.5%, the company said, citing volume declines at most of its newspapers and selectively higher discounting.

Broadcasting and entertainment group revenue in December declined 11.9% to $126 million, compared with $143 million last year. Television revenue fell 10.1% on weak ad revenue in most markets.

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