The parent of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times posted an 8% increase in revenue to $1.43 billion, and a 24% increase in net income to $193.5 million over the year-ago period; factoring out accounting changes enacted in 2001, net income for the quarter would have risen 81.1%. For the year, revenue rose 2% to $5.4 billion and net income rose 43% to $443 million from $309 million in 2001; factoring out the accounting changes, net income for 2002 would have quadrupled from $111.1 million in 2001.
Dailies see improvement
Management attributed the
Meanwhile, Tribune's broadcasting group showed a 16% increase in revenue for the quarter and 7% for the year.
Tribune management reaffirmed its targets of 2003 revenue growth in the mid-single-digit percentages. President-CEO Dennis FitzSimons said the year is off to a good start, with January retail advertising up in the mid-single digits, national up in the mid-teens and classified advertising down slightly, but showing improvement. The threat of war in Iraq is affecting job creation and help-wanted advertising, he said.
War fears are "certainly creating some uncertainty" in advertising, especially in newspapers, Mr. FitzSimons said. "Advertisers are concerned about wall-to-wall [news] coverage" on TV displacing advertising, he said, though that may lead to an increase in spot TV sales, he added, as marketers shift to local ads to make up for the lack of network inventory.