News Parent Belo Survives 2009 in Good Shape

The preliminary year-end results show a 12 percent operating margin despite an 18.7 percent decline in revenues. Classified revenues fell off the cliff, down 45.7 percent. Circ revenues were up almost 11 percent. But  it was the cost-cutting that saved the company. They slashed expenses by 33 percent.

These numbers tell me that the Dallas Morning News is here to stay. Last year was a disaster across the board. Plenty of businesses will look at that 12% margin — 20% in the fourth quarter — with undisguised envy.

Nota bene: The headlines in the  financial press, whose reports seem to be written by high-school dropouts, will focus on the net income results of a $110.3 million loss for the year. Disregard that. The loss includes non-cash write-offs and other accounting necessities. The true story is in the EBITDA or what I refer to above as the operating margin. Trust me on this. It’s my industry. By the way, the full-year revenue decline was much less than I anticipated.

Good work, guys.

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