Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) today reported its summary of revenues and newspaper advertising volume for period 5, ended May 23, 2004 . Consolidated revenues for the period were $467 million, up 3.2 percent from last year’s $452 million.
Based on current trends, the company expects consolidated revenue growth for the full year to be in the 4 percent range. Slower than anticipated growth within the publishing group will be offset by expense reductions. Actions being taken include staff reductions, newsprint conservation programs and reduced spending levels in all departments.
As a result, consolidated expense growth in the second half will be approximately
3 percent, down from previous expectations of a 5.5 percent increase.
“Although help wanted advertising is improving month-over-month, and preprints year-to-date are delivering strong growth, other advertising categories are not meeting the aggressive plans we had for the year,” said Jack Fuller, president of Tribune Publishing. “The shortfall is limited to a few newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times.”
The cost savings initiatives will result in a one-time pretax charge of $10-$15 million which is expected to be taken in the second quarter. Excluding this charge and non-operating items, second quarter diluted earnings per share is expected to be within the current range of analysts’ estimates. On the same basis, full year diluted EPS is expected to increase year-over-year in the low double digits.
Period 5 Summary
Publishing revenues in May were $325 million, 2.7 percent higher than last year’s
$317 million. Advertising revenues increased 4.1 percent to $255 million, compared with $245 million in May 2003. Total advertising inches were up 3 percent, while preprint pieces increased 9 percent.
Retail, national and classified advertising revenues discussed below include both print and interactive revenues for 2004 and 2003.
- Retail advertising revenues were flat as strength in food and other retail categories were offset by weakness in department stores, home furnishings and electronics. Preprint revenues, which are principally included in retail, were up
4 percent. Full run retail linage decreased 2 percent in the period.
- National advertising revenues rose 2.7 percent as strength in the financial and travel/resorts categories was offset by lower movies/entertainment and hi-tech advertising. Full run national volume was up 5 percent.
- Classified advertising revenues rose 11 percent due to gains in help wanted and real estate, which were up 25 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Auto classified advertising fell 1 percent. Full run classified volume was up 2 percent in the period. Interactive revenues, which are primarily included in classified, were $10 million, up 43 percent, due to strength in all categories.
Broadcasting and Entertainment group revenues in May rose 4.3 percent to $141 million, compared with $136 million in May 2003. Television revenues grew 2.4 percent as strength in the telecom and education categories was partially offset by decreases in movies, soft drinks and retail. The Chicago Cubs benefited from additional home games in the period and strong attendance.
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This press release contains certain comments that are based largely on the company’s current expectations and are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties. Such comments and statements should be understood in the context of Tribune’s publicly available reports filed with the SEC, including the most current 10-Q and 10-K that contain a discussion of various factors that may affect the company’s business. These factors could cause actual future performance to differ materially from current expectations.
Tribune Company is not responsible for updating the information contained in this press release beyond the published date, nor for changes made to this document by wire services or Internet service providers. More information on Tribune is available on the Internet at www.tribune.com.