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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Media General Reports October 2007 Revenues

RICHMOND, Va. – Media General, Inc. (NYSE: MEG) today reported October 2007 total revenues of $97.1 million, a decrease of $13.1 million, or 11.8 percent from October 2006, reflecting the absence of nearly $17.5 million of Political revenues in 2007.  By business segment, Publishing Division total revenues decreased 9.1 percent, mostly reflecting continued weakness in Classified advertising; Broadcast Division total revenues decreased 16.9 percent, due to lower Political advertising in this off-election year; and Interactive Media Division total revenues rose 27.3 percent. 

“Lower Political revenues had the greatest impact on our October results, partially offset by increases in Broadcast’s Local and National transactional sales of just over 15 percent each,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and chief executive officer.  “In October 2006, we generated $21 million in Political revenues, in large part due to the addition of four new NBC stations to our portfolio.  This year’s $3.3 million in Political revenues were from state government races in Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky, Presidential campaigns in Florida and South Carolina, and issue spending in a number of states.  

“Publishing Division results reflected lower Classified advertising in most of our newspaper markets, but particularly Tampa.  The economic downturn in Florida continues to challenge our Tampa operations, which accounted for 85 percent of the decline in Publishing revenues in October,” Mr. Morton said.

“Our Interactive Media Division experienced strong growth, including higher revenues in our advergaming business and increased revenues in the Local and National/Regional categories.  All markets but Tampa generated increased Classified revenues in October.  We continued to generate steady revenues and increased audience traffic from the Yahoo!HotJobs partnership.  Page views and visitor sessions in October increased 14 percent and 17 percent, respectively, from last year,” he said.  

Publishing Division
Newspaper advertising revenues in October decreased $5.5 million, or 11.2 percent; more than 90 percent of the decline was attributable to the Tampa market.

Classified advertising revenues, due mainly to a greater than 40 percent drop in Tampa, decreased $4.6 million, or 21.5 percent.  Classified revenues in the Richmond market declined 9.7 percent, due to lower help-wanted and automotive revenues offset partially by slightly higher real estate advertising.  The Winston-Salem market saw a 7.5 percent reduction, as automotive advertising and real estate revenues were down, partially offset by higher employment revenues due to higher rates.  The Community newspaper markets decreased 7.4 percent.

For the company’s three metro markets, real estate revenues were down 34.7 percent, employment revenues decreased 21.4 percent, and automotive revenues declined 27.8 percent. 

Retail advertising revenues declined by $450,000, or 2 percent.  While Retail revenues grew in the Richmond and Winston-Salem markets, The Tampa Tribune and its associated newspapers reported an 11.1 percent decrease, primarily due to lower spending in the home improvement, home furnishings, grocery store and medical categories.  The Richmond Times-Dispatch and its associated weekly newspapers generated a 4.7 percent revenue increase, as a result of advances in department store and grocery store advertising as well as revenues from a new weekly newspaper and political advertising at the weekly newspapers.  In Winston-Salem, Retail revenues rose 2.4 percent, reflecting higher spending in the medical category.  The Community newspaper group generated a 1.6 percent increase in Retail advertising revenues, with particularly strong growth in the Charlottesville and Southwest Virginia markets.

National revenues decreased $280,000, or 7.3 percent.  The Richmond market generated a 9.8 percent increase, primarily the result of higher spending in the telecommunications category, but that was more than offset by the Tampa market, which declined 19.9 percent, due to lower advertising in most major advertising categories.  National revenues in Winston-Salem were even with the prior year, reflecting increased spending by telecommunications and travel advertisers, but lower insurance spending.  

Circulation revenues were down $90,000, or 1.2 percent, as Daily and Sunday net-paid circulation declines for the month were partially offset by rate increases at the metro newspapers.  Seven Media General newspapers generated increases in net-paid Daily Circulation, and three did so for Sunday.

Broadcast Division
In the Broadcast Division, gross time sales decreased $12.2 million, or 22 percent, due to lower Political spending in this off-election year. 

Local time sales increased $3.4 million, or 15.1 percent, primarily from higher spending in the automotive, services, grocery store and fast food categories, partially offset by lower telecommunications advertising.

National time sales rose $1.9 million, or 15.3 percent, as a result of higher spending in the telecommunications, automotive and entertainment categories.

Interactive Media Division
Interactive Media Division revenues increased 27.3 percent, reflecting significantly higher revenues from the advergaming business, strong growth in National/Regional and Local as well as revenues from the Yahoo!HotJobs employment initiative.  Revenues from Yahoo!HotJobs also helped mitigate the overall softness in Classified revenues, which declined 9.7 percent.  

Local online revenues grew 43.1 percent over 2006, due to a continued focus on direct sales.  National/Regional advertising increased 55.5 percent, reflecting higher spending by national agencies, notably at in Tampa.  Advergaming revenues more than doubled from last year.

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