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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Media General Reports April 2007 Revenues

RICHMOND, Va. – Media General, Inc. (NYSE: MEG) today reported April 2007 total revenues of $93.3 million, a 7.7 percent increase from April 2006, including the revenues of four NBC television stations acquired June 26, 2006.  Excluding the new stations, total revenues declined 2.6 percent. By business segment, Publishing Division total revenues decreased 6.5 percent.  Broadcast Division total revenues increased 34.9 percent, including the new stations, and revenues increased 2.2 percent, excluding the new stations. Interactive Media Division total revenues rose 33.7 percent.

“For the month of April, Publishing Division results primarily reflected lower Classified advertising revenues, especially at The Tampa Tribune.  National advertising in our newspapers increased 11.1 percent for the month, while Retail advertising revenues were just slightly below last year,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and chief executive officer.

“The Florida economy is reeling from the impact of higher homeowners’ insurance premiums, property taxes and energy prices,” said Mr. Morton.  At The Tampa Tribune in April, Classified advertising revenues declined 34.8 percent from the prior year.  At the same time, National and Retail advertising revenues at the paper increased 11.4 percent and 1 percent, respectively.  Lower help-wanted advertising in the Tribune reflected an ongoing slowdown in job creation locally, especially in the construction industry.  Decreased real estate Classified advertising was due to the significant slowdown in Florida’s housing market, as well as comparisons to last year’s exceptionally strong level of advertising.  Lower automotive Classified advertising in Tampa reflected national trends associated with ongoing spending reductions by domestic automakers.  On April 10, 2007, The Tampa Tribune announced a series of actions designed to better align expenses with the current revenue environment.

“The increase in Broadcast Division total revenues in April, excluding the new stations, included an approximately $1 million increase in outside sales from our television equipment subsidiary.  Same-station gross time sales in April were essentially even with the prior year.  National and Political advertising revenues increased, while Local time sales declined, mostly due to softness in the automotive category,” said Mr. Morton.    

“Our Interactive Media Division generated record revenues in April.  Page views and visitor sessions from our newspaper and television Web sites rose 31 percent and 38 percent, respectively, including the new NBC station Web sites,” said Mr. Morton.

Publishing Division

Newspaper advertising revenues in April declined $3.5 million, or 7.2 percent, mostly due to a 15.8 percent decline in Classified revenues.

Classified advertising revenues at the Richmond Times-Dispatch increased 4.5 percent, principally reflecting higher real estate advertising revenues. The Winston-Salem Journal posted an 11 percent decline, and the Community newspaper group experienced a 5.9 percent decrease.

Employment linage at the company’s three metro newspapers declined 14 percent in April.  At The Tampa Tribune, employment linage decreased 8.4 percent, while revenues were 27 percent lower, as the result of pricing incentives being offered in a soft market.  Employment linage at the Richmond Times-Dispatch decreased 13.5 percent, while revenues were down just 2.4 percent, partly a result of a rate increase.  At the Winston-Salem Journal, employment linage decreased 24.8 percent, while revenues increased 62.4 percent, also the result of a rate increase and a special section.

Automotive linage for the three metros decreased 23.9 percent and reflected declines of 36.8 percent at The Tampa Tribune, 6.2 percent at the Richmond Times-Dispatch and 10.8 percent at the Winston-Salem Journal.

Real estate linage for the three metros was down 20.7 percent.  Running counter to this trend, the Richmond Times-Dispatch generated an 11.2 percent increase, due to higher advertising from real estate developers as well as the longer average periods that houses are remaining on the market.  The Winston-Salem Journal decreased 15.4 percent.  The Tampa Tribune experienced a 38 percent decline in real estate linage.

In the Retail advertising category, revenues were down by $200,000, or 0.9 percent, compared with April 2006.  The decline was attributable in part to the timing of Easter-related revenues, which fell mostly in March this year and in April last year.  Retail revenues at The Tampa Tribune and its associated newspapers increased 2.2 percent as a result of an emphasis on new products, as well as higher advertising in the department store, home furnishing, entertainment and drug store categories.  The Richmond Times-Dispatch experienced a 3.2 percent decrease in Retail advertising, due to lower department store and drug store advertising.  The Winston-Salem Journal reported a 1.3 percent decline, which included lower spending in the department store, home improvement and financial categories. The Community newspaper group was down 3.3 percent.

National revenues increased $360,000, or 11.1 percent.  The Tampa Tribune and its associated papers generated a 13.3 percent increase, which in part reflected the benefit of Verizon’s promotion of its new fiber optic cable system.  The Richmond Times-Dispatch generated a 5.9 percent increase, as a result of higher telecommunications and automotive advertising and increased preprint revenues.  The Winston-Salem Journal posted a 3.4 percent increase, mostly due to increased preprints.  The Community newspapers posted a 33.7 percent increase, reflecting higher spending in South Carolina, Southwest Virginia and Lynchburg.

While Circulation revenues declined $390,000, or 4.9 percent, approximately 65 percent of the decrease was the result of a change in wholesale rates to carriers at several newspapers for which there is a corresponding expense decrease.  Excluding this impact, Circulation revenues declined 1.7 percent.  Eight Media General newspapers generated increases in net-paid Daily Circulation, and five did so for Sunday, including the Winston-Salem Journal.

Broadcast Division

In the Broadcast Division, gross time sales increased $10.1 million, or 37 percent, including the new stations.  Same-station time sales decreased 0.3 percent.

Local time sales increased $6 million, or 33.8 percent, including the new stations.  Same-station Local time sales declined 1.8 percent, principally due to lower spending by automotive advertisers.  National time sales increased $3.9 million, or 42.1 percent, including the new stations.  Same-station National time sales increased 1 percent, as a result of higher spending in the telecommunications and services categories.

Political advertising revenues of $600,000 represented early campaign spending from gubernatorial candidates in Kentucky and North Carolina and issue advertising in Florida and Ohio.

The Broadcast Division continues to see shrinking automotive advertising budgets, higher levels of order cancellations and ad dollar deferrals, especially in the Tampa, Columbus, Providence, Raleigh and Mobile markets.

Interactive Media Division

Interactive Media Division total revenues, including the new NBC station Web sites, rose 33.7 percent. Higher Local and National/Regional advertising, as well as new products, helped drive the higher revenues.

Local revenues increased 63.2 percent over last year, due to increased direct sales and the continued focus on staffing and training. National/Regional advertising more than doubled, as a result of increased volume from national networks, including new advertisers.  Classified revenues decreased 5.2 percent, reflecting the continued softness in help-wanted advertising, partially offset by revenues from the company’s new employment initiative with Yahoo!HotJobs.  Sales for the division’s Blockdot advergaming business nearly tripled.

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