Political contributes $15.6 million to the total $176 million in the quarter’s revenue. Also strong were both local and national spot, retrans and Internet advertising.
Belo Corp. today reported third quarter financial results that included a 16% gain in revenue to $176 million compared to the same quarter last year.
Combined station and corporate operating costs were up 3% in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the third quarter of 2011.
Political revenue in the third quarter of 2012 totaled $17.7 million, a $15.6 million increase.
Total spot revenue, including political, was up 18% in the third quarter of 2012. Total spot revenue, excluding political, was up 5.1% with a 4.6% increase in local spot revenue and a 5.8% increase in national spot revenue.
Other revenue, which is composed primarily of Internet advertising, retransmission consent revenue and barter and trade advertising, was up 9% in the quarter compared to the third quarter of 2011, due primarily to double-digit percentage increases in both Internet and retransmission revenue. Other revenue in the third quarter of 2011 included network compensation.
Dunia A. Shive, Belo’s president-CEO, said: “Our third quarter results were buoyed by record political and Olympics revenue. We generated $17.7 million in political revenue and $13.4 million in Olympics revenue in the third quarter of 2012, both of which were significantly higher than we recorded in the third quarter of 2008. Our total spot revenue, including political, grew 18% in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the third quarter of 2011, and our total revenue increased 16%. Station EBITDA grew almost 50% compared to the third quarter of 2011.
“Our strong cash generation has allowed for a special dividend and for the early redemption of our May 2013 notes in a net present value cash-positive transaction. Our solid financial position gives us the flexibility to pursue acquisitions and investments and consider further opportunities to increase shareholder returns.”
Station salaries, wages and employee benefits increased $2.3 million, or 4%, during the third quarter of 2012 versus the third quarter of 2011, due primarily to annual merit increases for employees and higher accrued performance-based bonus expense.
Station programming and other operating costs were down $1.3 million, or 2%, due primarily to lower syndicated programming expense.
Station adjusted EBITDA increased 49% in the quarter and the station adjusted EBITDA margin was 40% for the third quarter of 2012.
Belo Corp. owns and operates 20 television stations (nine in the top 25 markets) and their associated websites.