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Tribune earnings slow in July after strong Q2

Rev was $508.3 million in the five weeks ending Aug. 3

After a strong second-quarter gain — nearly double last year’s numbers — Tribune Co. posted more modest earnings in July.

The Chicago-based media firm, whose holdings include the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, as well as 24 TV stations and a minority interest in the WB broadcast net, reported a 3.5% increase in revenue for the month, due mainly to acquisitions in its broadcast division.

Overall rev was $508.3 million in the five weeks ending Aug. 3, compared with $491.1 million for the same period in 2002.

Television revenues, which were up 4.3% to $113 million, would have been flat, the company said, were it not for the purchases of stations in Indianapolis, St. Louis and Portland, Ore.

In a note, Lazard analyst Mandana Hormozi predicted stronger TV growth later this year due to the better upfront advertising performance of the WB net and the Food Network. Tribune owns a respective 23% and 31% in the nets.

Total publishing revenue was up 2.8% to $356 million due to increases in print ads, which were up in most categories, led by home furnishings and food. Numbers were down in the classifieds category, however, due to the stagnant economy.

Ad revenue at the New York Times Co. was flat for July, up .2% compared with the same month last year. The media company owns newspapers the New York Times, the Boston Globe and eight network-affiliated TV stations. Including the results of the Intl. Herald Tribune, acquired in January, ad revenue rose 1.6% for the month.