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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Media General Reports July Revenues

RICHMOND, Va. – Media General, Inc. (NYSE: MEG) today reported July 2006 total revenues of $86.6 million, a 12.9 percent increase from July 2005. By business segment, Publishing Division total revenues increased 0.9 percent, Broadcast Division total revenues increased 38.7 percent, and Interactive Media Division total revenues rose 39 percent. Reported revenues for July 2006 include the revenues of four NBC television stations acquired on June 26, 2006. Excluding the four stations, total Media General revenues increased 3 percent and total Broadcast Division revenues were up 5.6 percent. Beginning in the second quarter of 2006, results for all periods do not include the revenues of the television stations and their associated Web sites for which the company has announced divestiture plans. These revenues are reported as discontinued operations in accordance with GAAP.

“Media General’s total revenue growth in July reflected strong Political advertising in several markets as well as the addition of four NBC stations to our Broadcast Division at the beginning of the month,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and chief executive officer. “In the Publishing Division, growth in Retail advertising and real estate Classifieds offset soft automotive and help-wanted Classified advertising and lower National advertising revenues,” Mr. Morton said.

“Online advertising growth continued to be robust, driven mostly by Classified advertising as well as new revenues in all categories. Page views and visitor sessions for July, which include the four NBC stations, rose 29 percent and 33 percent, respectively,” he said.

Newspaper advertising in July increased 1.6 percent over last year and reflected increases at the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Winston-Salem Journal, which offset soft Retail and National advertising at The Tampa Tribune.

Retail revenues in July increased $735,000, or 3.8 percent. The Richmond Times-Dispatch generated a 3 percent increase in Retail revenues, and the Winston-Salem Journal posted a 16.2 percent advance. The increases resulted from higher spending in many categories, including financial and home improvement as well as new products. The increases offset a 1.8 percent decrease at The Tampa Tribune, which experienced lower entertainment and department store advertising that offset higher financial, home improvement and new product advertising. The Community newspaper group saw 4.3 percent Retail growth, led by increases in the Southwest Virginia, Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Northern Virginia markets. 

Classified advertising revenues in July increased $320,000, or 1.6 percent, driven mostly by real estate advertising growth, especially at The Tampa Tribune. Total Classified revenues at The Tampa Tribune increased 4 percent. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported a 2.1 percent increase in total Classified revenues, while the Winston-Salem Journal saw a decrease of 3.6 percent, due mostly to lower spending in the automotive category. The Community newspaper group was up nominally in total Classified advertising.

Real estate linage increased 33.2 percent for the company’s three metropolitan newspapers, driven by a 60.2 percent increase at The Tampa Tribune, which continued to benefit from a strong new-housing market in the Tampa region. The Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Winston-Salem Journal reported real estate advertising linage increases of 35.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.  

Employment linage at the three metro newspapers decreased 7.8 percent overall. The Tampa Tribune and the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported decreases of 22.4 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. The Tampa decrease reflected continued softness in help-wanted advertising, particularly in some of its auxiliary employment products. Help-wanted linage was up 11.7 percent at the Winston-Salem Journal due to an increase in linage from local accounts. Automotive linage for the three metros declined 22 percent for the month and reflected continued spending restraint by automotive dealers.

National revenues declined $340,000, or 8.4 percent. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported a 19.7 percent increase as the result of higher insurance, medical and electronics advertising. The Tampa Tribune and the Winston-Salem Journal had declines of 14.2 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively. The Tampa Tribune experienced lower spending in the financial and telecommunications categories, while the Winston-Salem Journal had decreased telecommunications and automotive advertising.   

Circulation revenues were down $485,000, or 6.3 percent. Approximately 35 percent of the decline was due to the elimination of subsidies to independent carriers at several newspapers. Eight Media General newspapers posted increases in net-paid Daily Circulation, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, while overall volume decreased.

In the Broadcast Division, gross time sales increased $10.2 million, or 45.6 percent, including the four new NBC stations. Excluding the new stations, gross time sales increased 5.9 percent.

Local time sales increased $4.1 million, or 27.1 percent, including the new stations. Excluding the new stations, Local time sales decreased 3.1 percent. Total Local time sales in July reflected higher spending in the furniture and telecommunications categories and declines in automotive and financial spending. 

National time sales increased $4.6 million, or 63.6 percent, including the new NBC stations. Excluding these stations, National time sales increased 10.7 percent. Total National time sales reflected increased automotive, services and telecommunications advertising and lower spending in the corporate, fast food and entertainment categories.

Political revenues for the month of $1.7 million were up significantly from last July, including the new stations, which generated $540,000 in Political revenues. Political spending was driven primarily by the gubernatorial races in Florida and Alabama and by U.S. Senate and state campaigns in Rhode Island, Ohio and Tennessee.

Interactive Media Division revenue growth reflected higher advertising in all categories, led by increases of 19.8 percent and 47.6 percent, respectively, in online Classifieds and Local advertising. National/Regional advertising more than doubled and was mostly due to expanded campaigns across multiple Web sites. Real estate advertising growth was strong in July, and nearly all Media General Web sites generated higher revenues. Local revenue growth reflected increased sponsorships.

About Media General
Media General is a multimedia company operating leading newspapers, television stations and online enterprises primarily in the Southeastern United States. The company’s publishing assets include three metropolitan newspapers, The Tampa Tribune, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Winston-Salem Journal; 22 daily community newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina; and more than 150 weekly newspapers and other publications. The company’s broadcasting assets currently include 30 network-affiliated television stations that reach more than 33 percent of the television households in the Southeast and more than 10 percent of those in the United States. The company’s interactive media assets include more than 75 online enterprises that are associated with its newspapers and television stations. Media General also owns a 33 percent interest in SP Newsprint Company, a manufacturer of recycled newsprint.

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Lou Anne Nabhan
(804) 649-6103

Media Contact:
Ray Kozakewicz
(804) 649-6748