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Belo Corp. reported net operating revenues of $166.4 million in the second quarter, up from the $163 million it reported in the second quarter last year. Total revenue increased 2.1% in the quarter. Total spot revenue, excluding political, was up 2.4%, with a 2% uptick in local spot and a 3.2% gain in national.
Total spot revenue, including political, was up 1.4% in the second quarter of 2011. Political revenue in the quarter was $1.4 million less than the second quarter of 2010.
"Automotive cancellations were within our initial expectations for the quarter, and we experienced strong performance in other key categories such as retail, healthcare and telecommunications," said Dunia Shive, Belo president and CEO. "Excluding automotive revenue, our core spot revenue was up 5% in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the second quarter of 2010."
Station salaries, wages and employee benefits increased $2.6 million while station programming and other operating costs were up $5.6 million in the quarter, due primarily to a $3.1 million non-cash expense reduction related to what Belo called "third-party funding of certain newsgathering equipment in the second quarter of 2010, and increases in programming, advertising and promotion, and technology costs."
Shive said Belo is up against challenging comps in the third quarter. "We expect automotive spending to stabilize late in the third quarter with continued improvement in the fourth quarter," she said. "We are currently estimating spot revenue excluding political to be flat in the third quarter of 2011 compared to the third quarter of 2010. Our stations generated $11.2 million of political revenue in the third quarter of 2010 which we will cycle against in the third quarter of 2011. As a result, we are currently estimating third quarter total revenue to be down mid-single digits versus the prior year."
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