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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Media General Reports September Revenues

RICHMOND, Va.Media General, Inc. (NYSE: MEG) today reported September 2006 total revenues of $79.5 million, a 16.7 percent increase from September 2005, including the revenues of four new NBC television stations. Excluding the new stations, total revenues increased 2.4 percent in September. By business segment, Publishing Division revenues declined 2.9 percent, Broadcast Division total revenues increased 56.3 percent, or 11 percent excluding the new stations, and Interactive Media Division total revenues rose 45.6 percent.

Newspaper advertising revenues in September declined $930,000 or 2.4 percent, and reflected decreases in all categories. Including online revenues from associated Web sites, newspaper advertising revenues decreased only 1.6 percent in September.

Retail advertising revenues declined $330,000, or 1.9 percent. A small increase generated by the Winston-Salem Journal was more than offset by a slight decrease at The Tampa Tribune. Retail revenues for the Richmond Times-Dispatch declined 7.3 percent and primarily reflected lower spending in the financial, medical and furniture store categories. Retail revenues for the Community newspaper group declined 2.2 percent.

Classified advertising revenues decreased $290,000, or 1.7 percent. The company’s results included solid growth in real estate advertising, further spending reductions in the automotive category, and a recent softening of help-wanted advertising in line with a deceleration in job growth in the U.S.  Including online revenues, total Classified advertising decreased only 1 percent in September. At The Tampa Tribune, Classified revenues declined 2.8 percent. At the Winston-Salem Journal, Classified revenues were down 6.8 percent, while the Richmond Times-Dispatch was even with last year. For the Community newspaper group, Classified revenues increased 1.5 percent.

At the company’s three metro newspapers, real estate linage increased 11.5 percent. The Tampa Tribune, which continued to benefit from a strong new-housing market in the region, generated a 13.5 percent increase in real estate Classifieds. The Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Winston-Salem Journal reported real estate advertising linage increases of approximately 10 percent each.  

Employment linage at the three metros declined 14 percent. The Tampa Tribune’s help-wanted Classifieds decreased 33.8 percent and the Richmond Times-Dispatch was down 7.1 percent. Running counter to trend, the Winston-Salem Journal generated a 9.8 percent increase in help-wanted linage, which resulted from higher volumes from local advertisers. Automotive linage for the three metros declined 26.3 percent for the month and reflected further spending restraint by automotive dealers.

National revenues declined $280,000, or 8.2 percent. At the Winston-Salem Journal, revenues increased 15.1 percent, due to higher spending in the telecommunications and travel categories. The Tampa Tribune reported a decline of 8.8 percent, which mostly reflected decreases in the telecommunications and automotive categories, and at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, National revenues declined 13.3 percent, from reduced telecommunications advertising.

While Circulation revenues declined $380,000, or 5.9 percent, approximately 60 percent of the decrease was the result of eliminating subsidies to independent carriers at several newspapers. Excluding this impact, Circulation revenues declined only 2.4 percent. Six Media General newspapers generated increases in net-paid Daily Circulation and nine did so for Sunday, but overall volume for the month decreased.

In the Broadcast Division, gross time sales increased $13.9 million, or 65.6 percent, including the Company’s four new NBC stations. Excluding the new stations, gross time sales increased 12.1 percent.

Local time sales increased $4.4 million, or 31.8 percent, including the new stations. Excluding these stations, Local time sales decreased 1.3 percent. Higher spending in furniture and services was offset by decreases in the corporate and financial categories.     

National time sales increased $2.9 million, or 40 percent, including the new stations. Excluding these stations, National time sales decreased 6 percent. Increases in automotive and media advertising were offset by lower spending in the telecommunications and corporate categories.

Total Political revenues of $6.8 million compared with $190,000 last September, and were driven by gubernatorial races in Rhode Island, Florida and Ohio and by U.S. Senate campaigns in Rhode Island, Ohio, Florida and Tennessee, augmented by issue spending in Rhode Island, Florida and Ohio. Political revenues included $3.5 million from the four new NBC stations. 

Interactive Media Division revenue growth reflected increased advertiser spending and new products in all categories. Total online advertising grew 33.8 percent. The greatest contributor to growth was increased online Classified advertising, up 10.8 percent. Local advertising increased 71 percent, and National/Regional advertising more than doubled, as a result of campaigns with national agencies across multiple Web sites. Revenues from Media General’s Blockdot advergaming business more than doubled from new products and new advertisers. Page views and visitor sessions for September rose more than 25 percent each, including the new stations’ Web sites.

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 26 network-affiliated television stations that reach more than 33 percent of the television households in the Southeast and nearly 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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Investor Contact:
Lou Anne Nabhan
(804) 649-6103

Media Contact:
Ray Kozakewicz
(804) 649-6748