Belo (NYSE: BLC), the publisher of the Dallas Morning News and Providence Journal daily newspapers, posted lower net earnings of $18.8 million, or $0.18 per share, for Q3, versus last year’s $19.2 million, or $0.19 per share, a 2.1 percent decline. The Dallas-based newspaper publisher and broadcast TV station owner was hit with $2.3 million in transaction costs related to its previously announced plan to spin-off of its Newspaper Group, which amounted to $0.01 per share on an after-tax basis. In addition, revenues were down 3.2 percent to $364 million in Q3. Broken down by segment, Belo’s Q3 earnings report included:
— Newspaper Group: Total Q3 revenue fell 7.8 percent, which Belo pinned on the soft newspaper ad market and the downturn in the southern California housing market. Decreases were noted in retail, general and classified revenues while preprint revenues were up approximately three percent. And, mirroring a common newspaper industry dynamic, the group’s online ad revenues surged 25 percent to $13.9 million.
— Television Group: Revenue was up a modest 1.8 percent, with political revenue of $3.2 million in the third quarter of 2007 versus $7.5 million in the third quarter of 2006. Ad revenue from Belo’s TV station websites continued to grow at a high rate, rising 41 percent to approximately $9.5 million versus Q306’s to $6.7 million.