Tribune: Ad Categories Hit, Overall Revs Up 4%

Television advertising sales at Tribune Co. offered a weak financial picture in its third-quarter financial results.

Tribune didn't break out advertising sales specifically, but on a group basis. Ad revenue saw declines in the movies and automotive categories, as well as the absence of political spots. The company said these losses were partially offset by gains in the telecommunications, health care and food/packaged-goods categories.

However, thanks solely to higher cable copyright royalities, the company saw an increase in overall revenues--up by 4% to $288 million. Tribune said its TV operating cash flow was $98 million--up 14%--with its operating profit climbing 18% to $87 million.

Tribune's CEO Dennis FitzSimons said in a prepared statement that TV results finished strong in the quarter at its WPIX and WGN stations, which had higher ratings. These results are attributed to the new syndicated shows and the CW network's prime-time fall launch.

Tribune continues to be stuck in an industry-wide print advertising decline, as advertisers move to new and digital media. The company's online advertising revenues have not offset those losses. Tribune's online revenue rose 9% to $65 million in the third quarter.



The company expects that the $8.2 billion deal by real-estate businessman Sam Zell to take the company private will be completed by year's-end. But analysts worry that the deal may still fall apart. The purchasing price of $34 a share is still some $7 higher than the company's current price for its stock. Tribune's stock closed at $27.55.

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