Gannett Completes Its Acquisition Of Belo

The combination means the company’s broadcast division reaches nearly one-third of all U.S. households.

UPDATED AT 4:25 P.M.

FCC OKs Gannett-Belo And Tribune-Local

The commission on Friday gave the green light to the $1.5 billion Gannett buy of Belo’s 20 stations (minus KMOV St. Louis, which it is spinning off) as well as the $2.7 billion purchase by Tribune Co. of Local TV LLC’s 16 stations. Gannett says it expects to close its deal next week.

DMA 21 (ST. LOUIS)

KMOV To Be Spun Off To Smooth Gannett Buy

Gannett Co. can move ahead with its purchase of Belo Corp. as long as the deal does not include CBS affiliate KMOV St. Louis, antitrust enforcers at the U.S. Justice Department said today.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Belo 3Q Rev -5.7%, +3% Without Political

Core spot revenue was down 1.3% with a decrease in national spot of 3% and local spot basically flat. The decline in core spot revenue was primarily due to the non-returning Olympics revenue from the third quarter of 2012. Drivers include a 28% rise in retrans money and 21% growth in Internet advertising.

Belo Investors To Vote Against Gannett Buy

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that investor opposition to the terms of Gannett’s $1.5 billion takeover offer for TV station-owner Belo is intensifying, two weeks before Belo shareholders are due to vote. WSJ subscribers can read the full story here.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Belo 2Q Rev, Excluding Political, Up 2.5%

Core spot revenue was up 1.6% with increases of approximately 4% in national spot revenue and 1% in local spot revenue. Other drivers include a 10% rise in retrans and 21% growth in Internet advertising.

Coalition Seeks To Deny Gannett-Belo

In joint comments, Free Press, Common Cause, the Institute for Public Representation, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ Inc., NABET-CWA and The Newspaper Guild-CWA say the FCC should deny the proposed sale because it violates the commission’s newspaper-broadcast crossownership rule or the television duopoly rule.

FCC Asked To Block Part Of Gannett-Belo Buy

The American Cable Association, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV are objecting to a part of Gannett’s proposed $2.2 billion acquisition of Belo Corp.’s TV stations, saying that the deal threatens to drive up retransmission fees and risk even more station blackouts in negotiation standoffs.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Belo Now Worth More Than Gannett Is Paying

Here are two things you don’t see often in corporate mergers and acquisitions. Shares of Belo Corp., the Dallas-based owner of television stations, are trading for more than the takeover offer the company agreed to last month. And shares of the buyer, Gannett Co., have increased even more in value. The market is saying that Gannett got a much better deal than Belo did — so much so, that some investors buying Belo’s stock seem to hope that Gannett will raise its offer.

COMMENTARY BY CRAIG AARON

Want Better News? Block Gannett-Belo Deal

Free Press President Craig Aaron: “The FCC needs to end this charade. If the agency’s rules don’t allow mergers between these stations, then de facto mergers shouldn’t be allowed either. If that means breaking up a few big media companies along the way and stopping this deal, so be it.”

AIR CHECK BY DIANA MARSZALEK

Nervousness Over Local News Consolidation

There’s much speculation in the media business over how local TV news will be affected by the recently announced Gannett-Belo merger, especially in cities like St. Louis and Phoenix where both companies own TV stations.

Retiring Belo CEO To Make $300K/Yr. To ’16

A.H. Belo, announced Wednesday that Robert Decherd will retire as its chairman, president and CEO on Sept. 11 and be succeeded by Jim Moroney, the Dallas Morning News‘ longtime publisher and CEO. Decherd, 62, will move to a new role as vice chairman of the board — and he’ll be richly compensated for doing so, according to a filing late Wednesday with the SEC. Decherd will be paid $300,000 a year in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to serve as vice chairman of A.H. Belo’s board of directors, the company disclosed. Although Decherd will stop being CEO in September, he’ll still get his full $600,000 annual salary for 2013 and will be eligible for a full year’s bonus. Decherd earned $1.9 million in 2012.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Belo 1Q Revenue Up 2.8% To $160.3 Million

Core spot revenue was up about 2% with a 7% increase in national spot and a 1% decrease in local spot. Internet revenue grew 22%, with retrans up 8%.

Belo Makes Mobile Push As Traffic Spikes

With about 50% of its TV station sites’ traffic coming from mobile, Belo is making an aggressive shift toward restrategizing mobile content creation. “Some of what we’re doing as a company is really preparing our newsrooms to create content on mobile devices that is most relevant for the consumer and highly engaging,” says Joe Weir, VP of digital.

Cronkite Political Reporting Winners Named

Station winners include KUSA Denver, KARE Minneapolis-St. Paul, KMGH Denver, Hearst Television and Belo Corp. The awards from the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism  will be presented at the National Press Club in Washington on April 19.

EARNINGS CALL

Belo Expects Retrans Revenue Boost In ’13

CEO Dunia Shive says that it has deals with six video providers coming up for renewal between July and the end of next February. She also says the company will expand its station holdings “as they make sense.”

QUARTERLY REPORT

Belo Rev. Up 14% In 4Q, 10% For Full Year

Political ad revenue and retrans gains help boost the quarter’s revenue to $205 million, full year’s to $715 million.

Belo Totals Campaign Airtime Contribution

The broadcaster says it aired an average of 120 minutes per week of political coverage on each of its 14 news-producing television stations in the six weeks leading up to Election Day and provided free airtime to 135 congressional and gubernatorial candidates across the U.S.

Q&A WITH JOE WEIR

Belo Bullish On Double-Digit Digital Growth

Joe Weir, Belo’s VP of digital, in an exclusive interview with NetNewsCheck talks about the TV company’s efforts on multiple digital fronts, including recasting its deals program, producing more video content and forming a digital advertising services company. “Every single day, we get more and more information about the growth of display advertising and the growth of digital,” Weir says.

AIR CHECK BY DIANA MARSZALEK

KENS Forging A Distinctive Online Voice

At the Belo CBS affiliate in San Antonio, Jan Boyd, the station’s digital media director, wants KENS5.com to have a separate editorial focus while still supporting and supplementing the station’s on-air content. “[T]here is a different audience on the Web than TV. We try to have a definite personality.”

Belo Stations Go Hyperlocal With DataSphere

In a partnership with DataSphere Technologies, 14 Belo television markets will be getting hyperlocal websites featuring content about local events designed “to help advertisers reach the audiences most relevant to their businesses.”

EARNINGS CALL

Belo Pacing Up After Election Day Passes

For the fourth quarter, Belo is projecting that total spot revenues will be up 11% to 13% over a year ago. Political revenue, which was only $5.9 million in 4Q of 2011, is expected to be in a range of $29 million to $30 million. That will take the political total for full year 2012 to $58 million to $59 million, up from $55.6 million in 2010, the most recent political year.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Belo Records 16% Boost In 3Q Revenue

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.

DMA 44 (NORFOLK, VA)

Belo Names Brad Ramsey To Lead WVEC

The group owner picks the VP-GM of Gray Television’s Charlottesville, Va., triopoly to run its ABC affiliate in Hampton-Norfolk, Va., succeeding Tod Smith.

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The new Belo Private Ad Marketplace launched today will let select advertisers place ads across the websites associates with Belo’s 20 television stations.

ELECTIONS 2012

Belo Corp. Offers Candidates Free Airtime

This year marks the ninth consecutive election cycle the group owner’s stations will provide the “It’s Your Time’ program for congressional and gubernatorial candidates. Belo also outlines its political coverage plans for this fall.

EARNINGS CALL

Olympics Ad Sales Soar For Belo

“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.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Belo Corp.’s 2Q Revenue Climbs 7%

An $8 million jump in political ads and double-digit gains in both retransmission consent and Internet revenue delivers $178 million in quarterly total revenue.

Belo Declares Eight Cent Dividend For 3Q

The promise of eight cents a share for shareholder of record on Aug. 17 precedes release of 2Q earnings and conference call tomorrow morning.

TVNEWSCHECK FOCUS ON NEW MEDIA

Skitter Chief: ‘We Would Be Great Partners’

Bob Saunders, president of the broadband DSL cable provider, sees a business in streaming broadcast signals and other programming via the Internet to paying subscribers in small, rural communities. While broadcasters are wary of others distributing their signals, Saunders says he’s not trying to get something for nothing: “We want to pay retransmission where it’s required. We want to be a good actor on the scene.”

DMAS 21 & 52

Belo Names GMs In St. Louis, New Orleans

Mark D. Pimentel will head CBS affiliate KMOV St. Louis, while Tod A. Smith has been tapped as president-GM of WWL (CBS)-WUPL (MNT) New Orleans.

SALES OFFICE BY CHRISTINE DISTADIO

How To Make Social Media A Revenue Stream

Social networking is the most popular online activity worldwide. It’s big and only getting bigger each day as a place where consumers engage, share, interact, shop and consume news and information. Despite all the efforts put behind building and creating social channels, few have been able to generate significant revenue, but the payoff is coming as businesses engage fans and convert customers. 

QUARTERLY REPORT

Belo 1Q Revenue Grows By 3% To $156M

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.

Service To America Honorees Announced

TV winners of the annual awards by the NAB Education Foundation are KRGV Weslaco, Texas; KWTV-KOTV Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Belo Corp. They will be honored in Washington on June 11.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Belo Reports 4Q Core Revenue Up 3%

The broadcaster was aided by a strong automotive category along with double-digit gains in combined retrans and Internet revenue.

Analyst Predicts Dividend Increase By Belo

Belo Corp. last week announced a reworking of its bank credit facility — moving the expiration out a few years and getting greater financial flexibility. Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker likes the terms and is predicting that Belo will be returning more capital to shareholders.

DMA 5

Belo Ups WFAA Dallas ND To Corporate Post

The company’s Dallas ABC affiliate has begun the search for a new news director with the promotion of Michael Valentine to a corporate position, station sources say. In his new position he’ll be “working with Belo Corp. news departments on corporate initiatives.”

DMAS 12 & 73

Live Well Net Adds Two More Belo Stations

The addition of KING Seattle and KSKN Spokane brings the multicast network’s total clearance to about 50% of U.S. TV households.

Belo Corp. Announces Quarterly Dividend

Belo Corp., one of the nation’s largest pure-play, publicly- traded television companies, announced today that its board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend for the first quarter of 2012 of $0.05 for each outstanding share of Series A common stock and Series B common stock to be paid March 2, 2012, to shareholders of […]

DMA 70 (TUCSON, AZ)

Stalled KMSB Shows Will Be Done By KOLD

A year and a half ago, KMSB Tucson, Ariz., was making ambitious plans to hire a dozen news staffers to launch a new morning news and information show. Station owner Belo Corp. never green-lighted the project, citing budget concerns. Now, under a shared services agreement, the show is going to happen, but with Raycom’s KOLD doing the work.