Tribune Adds to Dirge of Media Woe

19 October 2001

Tribune Company, owner of eleven newspapers, 22 TV stations and over fifty websites, on Thursday posted a net loss of $139 million for its third quarter, down from net profits of $79.2m a year earlier.

The group, publisher of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, blamed ad cancellations and increased news-gathering costs, and warned the fourth quarter would also come in below expectations.

Excluding one-time charges, operating earnings were $148.7m, 37% down on Q3 2000, while revenues sank 7% to $1.28 billion. The company revealed it had cut around 1,700 jobs, 6%–7% of the total, this year, saving $58m per year.

The company said the September 11 attacks increased costs because of special newspaper editions, extended TV news coverage and the need for increased website capacity. Its television stations are estimated to have lost $12m due to the devastation.

Q3 TV revenues dropped 6% to $274m, while those at Tribune’s publishing properties tumbled 8% to $907m, while retail ad dollars sank 7%.

Over the first nine months of 2001, Tribune posted a net loss of $15.7m, down from profits of $168m a year earlier, while revenues increased 14% to $3.93bn.

News source: (US)