“We’ll finish about 25% ahead of the [2008 Beijing] China Games with over $12 million,” said Peter Diaz, president-media operations, in Belo’s Wall Street conference call. And Belo President-CEO Dunia Shive told analysts that 3Q spot is strong after weakness in national brought 2Q ad sales, excluding political, in slightly below a year ago.
As the Olympic Torch traveled through London on its way to the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Games today, Belo Corp. executives told investors that sales are up strongly for Olympics-related advertising on its four NBC stations. The only down side is that neither of its top 10 market stations carries the Peacock Network.
“We’ll finish about 25% ahead of the [2008 Beijing] China Games with over $12 million,” said Peter Diaz, president-media operations, in Belo’s Wall Street conference call after reporting strong 2Q financial results. “So we’re very pleased about the performance of our stations in Seattle [KING], Portland [KGW], Charlotte [WCNC] and Boise [KTVB].”
WCNC has also been seeing heavy spending for the presidential race, with North Carolina being targeted as a swing state. The same is true for Virginia, where Belo’s WVEC Hampton-Norfolk (ABC) is enjoying the windfall. Belo’s four Texas stations got an unexpected bump from primary runoff elections in both parties for an open U.S. Senate seat, with voters due back at the polls next Tuesday.
Belo President-CEO Dunia Shive told analysts that 3Q spot is strong after weakness in national brought 2Q ad sales, excluding political, in slightly below a year ago. “When I look at the pacings today we’re looking at a low double-digit pace in both local and national, so it looks pretty strong. I do want to say, though, that if political comes in stronger, that would certainly have a displacement effect on core, but in any event the total spot number looks good,” Shive said.
Auto, which gained 19% in 2Q, remains strong in the current quarter. Shive says health care is pacing up in 3Q after being down in 2Q. She also cited strength in financial services and travel.
The company’s official guidance to Wall Street is to expect total 3Q revenues to be up in the mid- to high-teens. That’s based on spot revenue, including political and the Olympics, being up in the high teens and “other revenue” — which includes Internet and retransmission consent — to be up in the low double-digits.
As was the case with Journal Communications a day earlier, analysts wanted to know why Belo had not been a station buyer in the recent string of transactions.
“We are in the deal flow,” Shive assured analysts and investors. “We have looked. The right opportunity hasn’t come along for us.”
The CEO indicated that the main barrier for her company in the recent Newport Television sale was the packaging of multiple stations. She didn’t specify which markets Belo would have been interested in, but the deals announced have 12 stations going to Nexstar, six to Sinclair and four to Cox, with five still on the market.