Tribune reported that 2004 fourth-quarter operating revenue rose 1% to $1.5 billion, while net income fell 36% to $217 million. For 2004, revenue grew 2.3% to $5.7 billion, and net income slumped 37% to $547 million. Earnings were hurt by a number of charges from such things as layoffs, an accounting change, and a settlement with advertisers over the inaccurate circulation issue.
One bright spot was fourth-quarter interactive revenue, which rose 27% to $33 million. The company indicated that Careerbuilder.com, a joint venture of Tribune, Gannett
Tribune instead seems to be eyeing media consolidation as a means to bump up its performance. What gives me this idea? The firm is making the special effort of joining with Viacom
But Tribune's pursuit of looser ownership rules may not be the best investment of its resources. After all, the FCC rules have been fairly controversial, and homogenization of traditional media is arguably one of the factors driving people away from such outlets. Over the long run, Tribune may be better served by concentrating on building out its new media assets rather than adding to its old media properties.
Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer in Chicago. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.