AH Belo (NYSE: AHC) (NYSE: BLC), the newspaper half of the old Belo Corp., saw its online revenues drop the last two consecutive quarters, but CEO Robert Decherd plans to address that by stressing more ad targeting and distancing the selling of print and online. Speaking at day two of the three-day UBS Global Media and Communications (PDF) conference, Decherd said the company is also relying on its participation in the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Newspaper Consortium, which is expected to net AH Belo $1.1 million in incremental ad revenue.
In addition to shifting away from print upsells and building up its online-only ad sales force, the publisher of the Dallas Morning News plans to broaden its ad base and focus more on small and mid-size businesses, as revenue tied to classifieds and auto dealers declines. Speaking of autos, AH Belo is also using software from ResponseLogix to manages local car dealers' internet leads. Decherd noted that AH Belo has a separate sales force dedicated for the ResponseLogix program that is separate from its newspaper and website sales. Only 20- to 30 percent of online leads are being followed up by dealers, so as the auto industry continues its struggles, these kinds of services might be attractive (as long as the dealerships are still open, at least).
By David Kaplan