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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Media General Reports November Revenues

RICHMOND, Va. – Media General, Inc. (NYSE: MEG) today reported November 2006 total revenues of $91.7 million, a 21.2 percent increase from November 2005, including the revenues of four new NBC television stations. Excluding the new stations, total revenues increased 6.1 percent. By business segment, Publishing Division total revenues declined 4.3 percent. Broadcast Division total revenues increased 77.4 percent, or 28.2 percent excluding the new stations. Interactive Media Division total revenues rose 23.9 percent.

“In November, Media General benefited from an increase in broadcast television gross time sales of $19.7 million, or 82.6 percent, including our new NBC stations. That increase included $13.2 million of Political revenues, of which more than 42 percent came from our new stations in Columbus, Ohio, and Providence, Rhode Island. Campaign spending also was strong at our stations in Tampa, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and chief executive officer.

“Publishing Division results reflected weakness in Classified and National advertising, while Retail advertising increased nominally. The Retail category has been a solid performer this year, up 4 percent year-to-date, which mostly reflects the benefit of our new product initiatives. Our new products target communities of particular interests and provide advertisers the opportunity to reach desired audiences,” Mr. Morton said.

“The Interactive Media Division’s revenue growth reflected sharply increased Local and National/Regional advertising on our Web sites, partially offset by a decline in online Classified advertising. Page views and visitor sessions rose 23 percent and 29 percent, respectively, including our new NBC station Web sites,” said Mr. Morton.

Newspaper advertising revenues in November declined $1.9 million, or 4.3 percent. Including online revenues, newspaper advertising revenues decreased 3.9 percent for the month.

Retail advertising revenues increased $75,000, or 0.3 percent. Retail revenues for the Winston-Salem Journal were up 7.6 percent, and reflected the publication of two new monthly magazines and higher spending in the sporting goods and political categories. Retail revenues at the Richmond Times-Dispatch were even with last year, and reflected lower spending in the department store and drug store categories offset by revenues from new products. The Tampa Tribune and its associated newspapers reported a 1.9 percent decrease in Retail revenues, due to lower spending in the department store and financial categories, partially offset by revenues from Centro, a year-old Spanish-language weekly. Retail revenues for the Community newspaper group rose 1 percent, and reflected growth in the Alabama and Lynchburg, Virginia, markets.

Classified advertising revenues overall declined $1.2 million, or 7.5 percent. Classified revenues at the Richmond Times-Dispatch increased 1.6 percent, while The Tampa Tribune and Winston-Salem Journal reported declines of 14.8 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively. The Community newspaper group reported a 3.2 percent decrease.

Real estate classified linage for the company’s three metros decreased 11.5 percent in the aggregate. The Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Winston-Salem Journal reported increases of 8.4 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, while The Tampa Tribune experienced a 26.5 percent decrease from the prior-year’s very strong real estate linage totals.

Employment linage at the three metros declined 18.1 percent and included decreases of 29.3 percent at The Tampa Tribune, 13.7 percent at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and 6.3 percent at the Winston-Salem Journal. Automotive linage for the three metros was down 20.7 percent for the month.

National revenues declined $620,000, or 15.7 percent, mostly reflecting weakness in telecommunications advertising. National revenues at the Richmond Times-Dispatch increased 3.7 percent, as a result of increased insurance advertising and higher rates for Sunday advertising.  The Tampa Tribune reported a decline of 24.6 percent, which reflected decreases in the telecommunications, health care and automotive categories. At the Winston-Salem Journal, National revenues declined 19.9 percent, reflecting lower spending in the telecommunications and insurance categories. National revenues for the Community newspaper group were up 8.7 percent. 

While Circulation revenues declined $410,000, or 6.3 percent, approximately 55 percent of the decrease was the result of a change in wholesale rates to carriers at several newspapers. Excluding this impact, Circulation revenues declined only 2.7 percent. Seven Media General newspapers, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, generated increases in net-paid Daily Circulation; eight did so for Sunday, including the Winston-Salem Journal.

In the Broadcast Division, gross time sales increased $19.7 million, or 82.6 percent, including the company’s four new NBC stations. Excluding the new stations, gross time sales increased 27.7 percent.

Total Political revenues of $13.2 million compared with $275,000 last November, and were generated during the final week of hotly contested gubernatorial races in Rhode Island, Florida and Ohio, and by U.S. Senate campaigns in Rhode Island, Ohio, Florida and Tennessee. This was augmented by heavy issue spending in Rhode Island, Florida and Ohio. Political revenues included $5.6 million from the four new NBC stations. 

Local time sales increased $3.1 million, or 19.2 percent, including the new stations. Excluding these stations, Local time sales decreased 8 percent. National time sales increased $3.6 million, or 50 percent, including the new stations. Excluding these stations, National time sales increased 0.8 percent. The decrease in Local advertising reflected the displacement of spot inventory to accommodate the significant increased volume of Political advertising, and also reflected continued softness in certain spending categories, especially automotive.

In the Interactive Media Division, total advertising was up 19.3 percent, including the new NBC station Web sites. Local revenues increased 51 percent and National/Regional advertising more than doubled. Online Classified revenues declined 4.6 percent compared to last November, mostly due to softness in help-wanted advertising. Revenues from Media General’s Blockdot advergaming business were up 68 percent in November.

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 include 23 network-affiliated television stations that reach more than 32 percent of the television households in the Southeast and nearly 9.5 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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Investor Contact:
Lou Anne Nabhan
(804) 649-6103

Media Contact:
Ray Kozakewicz
(804) 649-6748