Belo Up 17%, LIN Posts 27% Rev Gains

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Two TV station groups -- Belo Corp. and LIN TV -- posted strong advertising gains in their respective third-quarter reporting periods.

Belo Corp., the bigger TV station group, gained 17.5% in ad revenue, which includes political ad results. Its big automotive category was up a strong 30% versus business in the third quarter of 2009. Belo also had double-digit gains from financial services, retail, telecommunications and travel ad categories. Political revenue rose five times its results versus a year ago, to $11.2 million.

Belo's digital and Web site business increased 23% to $9 million; retransmission revenue was at $11.8 million.

Overall revenue improved 17% to $163.8 million for Belo. It swung to a profit in the period -- $13.9 million in net earnings, versus a $150.5 million net loss in the same period last year. The company expects total ad revenue could gain another 20% in the fourth quarter. Full-year political ad revenue is expected to be $54 million to $55 million.

LIN TV had a 27% gain in net revenue to $103.6 million, with a 13% hike in core advertising sales to $85.1 million. This result does not include political advertising.

Automotive -- the company's top category, commanding 24% of LIN's ad business -- witnessed a big 41% improvement to $20.6 million. Political revenues more than tripled to $9.5 million to $12.5 million.

Internet ad revenues and retrans consent fees -- under its digital revenues category -- climbed a big 54% to $16.0 million. Retrans consent fees alone gained 4%; Internet advertising posted a 209% hike.

Lin's net earnings were at $8.3 million compared with a $875,000 loss in the third quarter of 2009.

For the fourth quarter, it estimates ad revenues to be between $99.0 to $103.0 million, digital revenues to land around $16.0 to $16.9 million, and network comp -- barter -- and other revenues to be at $2.5 to $3.6 million.

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