A.H. Belo posts $103.1 million first quarter loss

More very not good news from the parent of Dallas’ Only Daily Newspaper — a $103.1 million loss in the first quarter of this year, exacerbated by one-time costs for layoffs and writing down goodwill. Even without those charges, Belo lost $18.1 million in the first quarter. That compares to a loss of $62 million in 2008.

There was very little good news in the results, especially considering the changes Belo has made — layoffs, eliminating benefits, cutting circulation costs, and reducing editorial coverage. Details after the jump:

• Ad revenue declined 28.2 percent and Internet revenue was down 24 percent from the same period last year. That compares to a 19 percent drop in ad revenue in all of 2008, so things aren’t getting better.

• Costs decreased 12.5 percent compared to the the first quarter of 2009, which seems impressive until you take into account the overall revenue decline in this quarter of 19.8 percent. In  2008, costs decreased 14 percent and overall revenue fell 19 percent. So things aren’t getting much better here, either.

• Newspaper cash flow, as measured by EBIDTA, was negative in the first quarter. It was positive in 2008. Things are much worse here.

What’s even scarier (especially for News employees) is this press release quote from Belo boss Robert Decherd. Usually, these things are positive, even when the news isn’t. But Decherd says: "A. H. Belo continues to face significant revenue challenges in 2009. Lower advertising revenues require us to continue to focus on expense reductions and operational realignment."

That sounds like more layoffs to me.

 


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