Local spot was up 4%, national was down 5%. Total spot, including political, rose by 2%. Core spot revenue was powered by increases in automotive and retail.
Television company Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC) today reported total revenue of $156 million in the first quarter of 2012, which was $4.4 million, or 3%, higher than the first quarter of 2011.
Total spot revenue, excluding political, was up 1% with a 4% increase in local spot revenue and a 5% decrease in national spot revenue.
The company said core spot revenue growth came from strength in the automotive and retail categories. Political revenue in the first quarter of 2012 totaled $1.6 million, a $1.2 million increase compared to the first quarter of 2011.
Total spot revenue, including political, was up 2% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter of 2011.
Other revenue, which includes barter and trade advertising, network compensation, Internet advertising and retransmission revenue, was up 7% in the first quarter of 2012 due primarily to double-digit increases in both Internet and retransmission revenue, partially offset by a $1.7 million decrease in network compensation, which the company is no longer receiving beginning in 2012.
Station salaries, wages and employee benefits increased $1.9 million, or 3%, during the first quarter of 2012, due primarily to annual merit increases for employees and higher commissions. Station programming and other operating costs were down $4.9 million, or 10% due primarily to savings in syndicated programming expense.
Dunia A. Shive, Belo’s president-CEO, said: “Growth in core spot revenue and double-digit growth in both retransmission revenue and Internet advertising contributed to a 3% total revenue increase in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter of 2011. Core spot revenue included increases in our two largest categories, automotive and retail. While political revenue was higher than the prior year, we did not receive meaningful political dollars in the first quarter due to the Texas primary moving to the second quarter.
“With the savings related to the conclusion of the Oprah show last fall and continued expense management, combined station and corporate operating costs were lower than the first quarter of last year. Our station adjusted EBITDA grew 16% compared to the first quarter of 2011 and our station adjusted EBITDA margin was 35%.
“In March, the company announced a 60% increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.08 per share. The new annualized rate of $0.32 per share represents a dividend yield of 4.9% based on yesterday’s closing price.”
Read the company’s report here.