Political Ad Boom Fuels Belo's Earnings

TV station and media company Belo Corp. has seen slightly better financial results than anticipated, all from improved political ad revenues in specific markets. The company's second-quarter net income moved up to $42.7 million from $41.9 million--bettering Wall Street analysts' estimates. Belo recorded earnings of 41 cents a share, higher than the expected results of 30 cents a share.

Belo, which owns five television stations in Texas, including Houston-based CBS affiliate KHOU-TV, saw revenue grow to $403.6 million from $391.3 million for the same period of a year ago.

Political advertising for the rest of the year is expected to grow in the third quarter, as political campaigns heat up. The company is expected to see overall spot advertising climb by high-single-digit percentages versus a year ago.

The newspaper division of the company--as with most media companies--has been suffering. Revenue only rose 1 percent versus a year ago. Analysts say auto advertising and classifieds are a drag on financial results--which is part of an overall industry-wide trend.

Growing--but small--Internet businesses continue to show big gains on small revenue bases. Belo said its TV stations' Web sites had revenue increases of 60 percent to $4.7 million in the quarter, while newspaper-related sites saw revenue rise 53 percent.

All that helped lift Belo's shares by 6 percent in midday trading. Shares were up $1.13 cents at $16.33 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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