ProJo parent sees continuing sales loss, least since ’08 break-up
PROVIDENCE JOURNAL parent company A.H. Belo Corp. reported an increase in net income for 2013, but noted that while its Providence property produced increased printing and distribution revenue, it saw advertising revenue, including on the digital side, decline for the year.
DALLAS – A.H. Belo Corp., parent company of The Providence Journal, reported full-year net income of $16.1 million, or 71 cents per diluted share, in 2013, compared with 2012 earnings of $526,000 or 1 cent per diluted share, as it saw revenue fall 2.3 percent for the year to $366.2 million.
In the release announcing the company’s results, Belo noted that the revenue decline was the smallest since the split of the company into freestanding newspaper and television entities in 2008 (the television stations were bought by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2013), crediting digital revenue growth at the Dallas Morning News and increased printing and distribution revenue at the Providence Journal.
Belo completed the sale of The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., in the fourth quarter, which accounted for $8.8 million of the company’s full-year profit.
Chairman, President and CEO James M. Moroney III praised the growth and diversification of revenue streams at the Dallas Morning News, where “new products and services offset about 60 percent of the core print advertising revenue declines in the fourth quarter and about 70 percent of these declines for the full-year 2013.”
The company reported that advertising and marketing services revenue, which includes print and digital revenue, declined 3 percent on the year, as drops of 8 percent, 3 percent and 10 percent in display, preprint and classified advertising, respectively, were offset by an 18 percent gain in digital revenue. However, while the Morning News reported a 24 percent increase in digital revenue, that growth was countered by an unspecified decline in Providence Journal digital revenue.
Company-wide subscription revenue declined 2 percent to $120.3 million due to fewer subscribers, a change that was partially offset by increased subscription rates. Printing and distribution revenue increased 5 percent to $37 million, primarily due to expanded distribution of new and existing third-party newspapers at the Providence Journal. The company also reported that its total employee count of 1,550 full-time equivalents represented a roughly 4 percent drop compared with 2012.
In a reconciliation of its full-company net income to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization from continuing operations (thus excluding The Press Enterprise), Belo reported a 13.5 percent drop to $31.6 million.
Moroney said in the release that the company began “2014 with a strong balance sheet and the flexibility to deploy cash in the long-term interests of the company, its shareholders and employees.” Evidence to support that statement could be found in the company’s balance sheet, which recorded an increase of cash and cash equivalents of 141 percent to $82.2 million, a decline of 59.2 percent in long-term pension liabilities to $50.1 million and no long-term debt.
The company also re-affirmed that it was exploring a potential sale of the Journal.