Ad losses hurt AH Belo in Q2

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Reflecting continuing ad sales troubles in the newspaper industry, publisher AH Belo Corpreported a second quarter net loss of $7.1 million Monday morning.

Advertising revenue — for print and online — was down 30.2% compared to Q2 2008, and Internet revenues were down 20.8%, to $9.8 million. All told, company total revenue fell 21.9% from the same period a year ago.

It wasn't all bad news for the company, however. Thanks to increased sale prices in Dallas and Providence, circulation revenue was up 9.9% in the second quarter. Additionally, the company lowered its borrowings significantly — from $12.7 million at the end of the first quarter to $3.5 million as of June 30, 2009 — and was in compliance with its bank covenants at the end of the second quarter.

“We successfully managed costs in the second quarter to remain EBITDA positive and significantly pay down the Company's credit facility,” Robert W. Decherd, chairman, president and CEO of AH Belo, said in a statement. “A.H. Belo continues to experience success with our strategy of providing high quality newspaper subscribers to our advertisers, resulting in increased circulation revenue in 2009.”

He added that a new integrated advertising system at flagship The Dallas Morning News should help improve ad revenues. The new system, which went live earlier this month is designed to give sales executives more tools for creating individualized sales and marketing packages.

AH Belo, which was spun off from Belo Corp. in 2007, publishes the The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal, The Press-Enterprise and the Denton Record-Chronicle, which, combined with the company's Web properties, reach a total audience of 3.7 million.

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