A pair of media companies lowered their quarterly earnings forecasts Monday, citing waning advertising in the wake of the war.
both lowered their first-quarter predictions, following similar moves recently from
New York Times and
"Since the war began, Belo's operating units, like other advertising- related businesses, have experienced further disruption to normal advertising spending patterns. Some advertisers have delayed or canceled advertising plans since the war began, and certain television advertisers have limited advertising to specific kinds of programming," said Robert W. Decherd, Belo's chief executive.
The company said it expects earnings to be below its previous guidance of 15 cents to 16 cents a share, and to approximate 2002 first-quarter earnings per share, excluding a special gain. The Dallas-based company earned 13 cents a share in the first quarter of 2002. Analysts were expecting earnings of 15 cents a share for the coming quarter. First-quarter revenue is expected to grow slightly compared with last year's $319.9 million, the company said. Belo will release earnings on April 23. Shares of the company were recently up 1.3% at $20.99.
Meanwhile, Pulitzer said it expects first-quarter earnings to be at or slightly below the low end of analysts' estimates of 35 cents to 42 cents a share. The company earned 34 cents a share in the first quarter of last year.
"Advertiser caution and the weak economy are putting pressure on advertising growth, particularly in the areas of major retail, automotive and employment," said Robert C. Woodworth, president and chief executive of Pulitzer. "As a consequence, we have increased our focus on tight cost control."
The company said it believes it can meet its guidance for full-year 2003 earnings of at least $1.95 a share. The company earned $1.84 a share for 2002, and analysts expect the company to earn $2.02 in 2003. Regarding 2003 earnings, however, Woodworth said: "Our results would be adversely affected should there be a protracted war in Iraq."
St. Louis-based Pulitzer will announce its earnings on April 22. Recently, shares of the company were up 1.5% at $46.32.