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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Media General Reports January 2007 Revenues

RICHMOND, Va. – Media General, Inc. (NYSE: MEG) today reported January 2007 total revenues of $80.7 million, a 4.7 percent increase from January 2006, including the revenues of four NBC television stations acquired June 26, 2006. Excluding the new stations, total revenues decreased 3.5 percent. By business segment, Publishing Division total revenues declined 6.8 percent, Broadcast Division total revenues increased 30.2 percent, or 1.4 percent, excluding the new stations, and Interactive Media Division total revenues rose 32.7 percent.

“While the month of January was soft overall, there were several bright spots. These included strong Super Bowl advertising on our nine CBS television stations, increased Retail advertising revenues in Tampa, Classified revenue growth at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and 33 percent growth in Interactive Media revenues,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and chief executive officer. “These favorable contributions, however, were offset by continued weakness in Classified and National advertising in many of our newspapers and generally soft Local and National transactional sales in the broadcast business. All of these categories were heavily impacted by lower automotive industry spending.

“Our Interactive Media Division revenue growth was led by strong Local and National/Regional advertising and new products. Our Internet revenues as a percentage of total revenues increased from 2.7 percent last year to 3.4 percent this year. Page views and visitor sessions from our newspaper and television Web sites rose 25 percent and 35 percent, respectively, including the new NBC station Web sites. The growth in all of these metrics strongly reflects the benefit of multiple initiatives to create a dynamic Internet presence in all markets. We also launched the initial phase of our Yahoo!HotJobs partnership with the introduction of this exciting new employment product as an upsell opportunity on a number of our Web sites, including Tampa and Richmond,” said Mr. Morton.

A decrease in newspaper advertising revenues of $3.3 million, or 7.5 percent, mostly reflected lower Classified revenues and, to a lesser extent, decreased National revenues, while Retail revenues were essentially even with January 2006.

In the Retail category, The Tampa Tribune and its associated daily newspapers generated a 3.9 percent increase, including higher spending in the automotive parts, travel and financial categories as well as increased advertising in Centro, a Spanish-language weekly. The Winston-Salem Journal generated an increase in Retail revenues of 1 percent, which included higher spending by office supply and home improvement advertisers. The Richmond Times-Dispatch saw a 2.6 percent decrease in the month, reflecting lower spending in the department store, medical and drug store categories. The Community newspaper group was down 3 percent.

Classified advertising revenues decreased $2.2 million, or 11 percent. The Richmond Times-Dispatch generated a 7.2 percent increase in the month, and the Community newspaper group was even with the prior year. Due in large part to last year’s exceptional Classified real estate advertising that did not repeat in 2007, The Tampa Tribune’s Classified advertising revenues declined 28.1 percent for the month. Classified revenues at the Winston-Salem Journal decreased 9.8 percent in January.

Employment linage at the company’s three metro newspapers declined 13 percent in January, including decreases of 30.5 percent at The Tampa Tribune, 3.6 percent at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and 2.2 percent at the Winston-Salem Journal.

Automotive linage for the three metros decreased 31 percent, reflecting spending constraint from automobile dealers. 

Real estate linage for the three metros was down 18.4 percent. The Richmond Times-Dispatch generated a strong 19.7 percent increase and the Winston-Salem Journal was up 4.9 percent, while The Tampa Tribune was down 42.8 percent.

National revenues declined in January by $1 million, or 21.7 percent. The Tampa Tribune and its associated daily newspapers saw a 29.8 percent decrease, due mostly to losses in automotive advertising that compared to a very strong level in January 2006. National revenues at the Richmond Times-Dispatch declined 17.7 percent, due to lower telecommunications and movie advertising. The Winston-Salem Journal reported a 20.2 percent decrease, reflecting a decline in automotive and telecommunications advertising.

While Circulation revenues declined $310,000, or 3.8 percent, approximately 40 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 2.2 percent. Nearly one-half of Media General’s newspapers, including the Winston-Salem Journal, generated increases in net-paid Daily Circulation. Six did so for Sunday, including the Winston-Salem Journal.

In the Broadcast Division, total revenues increased 30.2 percent, including the new stations. Same-store Broadcast revenues increased 1.2 percent. Gross time sales increased $7.8 million, or 35.2 percent, including the new stations, and increased 3.3 percent on a same-store basis. The same-store increases mostly reflected the benefit of Super Bowl-related advertising on the company’s nine CBS stations.

Total Local time sales increased $4.6 million, or 32.6 percent. Same-store Local time sales increased 2.7 percent, reflecting higher spending in the entertainment, services and medical categories, and a decrease in automotive advertising.

Total National time sales increased $3.1 million, or 40 percent. Same-store National time sales increased 4.4 percent, due to increased telecommunications and financial advertising, partially offset by lower automotive advertising.

Political advertising in the month was nominal.

Interactive Media Division total revenues, including the new NBC station Web sites, rose 32.7 percent. Local revenues increased 79 percent, driven by strong banner advertising and increased sales resources focused on this category. National/Regional advertising nearly doubled, due to increased volume from national networks. Classified revenues decreased 2.3 percent compared with last January, and reflected the softness in newspaper Classified advertising, much of which is upsold to the company’s 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 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