Belo Posts Higher Q4 Results, with Dallas Still Dragging Revenues Down

By: (AP) Media owner Belo Corp. said today political advertising on its television stations helped the company post a 26 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit.

Newspaper revenue gained less than 1 percent, as weak results at the flagship Dallas Morning News dragged down strong revenue at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif.

The Dallas-based company earned $53.5 million, or 46 cents per share, in the October-December period, compared with $42.4 million, or 36 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast operating earnings of 43 cents per share.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $412.7 million from $387.8 million a year earlier.

Belo said political advertising on its 19 TV stations was a surprisingly strong $52.8 million in the quarter. TV revenue rose 13.5 percent.

Newspaper advertising revenue will be down by low to mid single digits in the January-March quarter, with weakness persisting in Dallas, the company said. January spot revenue for TV was down about 3 percent and would be flat to slightly down for the quarter.

Belo, which is still working to settle an overstatement of circulation at the Dallas paper, said last week that circulation there fell 11.7 percent on Sundays and 5.4 percent on other days for the six months that ended Sept. 30.

For all of 2004, Belo earned $132.5 million, or $1.13 per share, compared with $128.5 million, or $1.11 per share, in 2003. Revenue rose to $1.51 billion from $1.44 billion.


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