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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Media General Reports August 2007 Revenues

RICHMOND, Va. – Media General, Inc. (NYSE: MEG) today reported August 2007 total revenues of $72.8 million, a 2.8 percent decrease from August 2006.  By business segment, Broadcast Division total revenues increased 0.1 percent, despite the absence of $2.5 million in Political revenues this year, and Interactive Media Division total revenues rose 29.3 percent, while Publishing Division total revenues decreased 6.2 percent.

“The decline in Publishing Division revenues in August was mostly due to continued weakness in Classified advertising, particularly in our Tampa market.  On the other hand, we were pleased with a solid increase in Retail revenues in the month, driven by higher spending in Tampa and at our Community newspapers,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and chief executive officer.

“Our Broadcast Division experienced sharply increased National time sales, primarily the result of higher spending in the telecommunications and automotive categories.  WFLA benefited from airing four pre-season Tampa Bay Buccaneers football games this August compared with only three last August,” Mr. Morton said.

“The Interactive Media Division generated strong revenue growth, led by increased revenues in our advergaming business as well as solid gains in the Local and National/Regional categories.  Revenues from the Yahoo!HotJobs employment initiative helped mitigate the effect of overall softness in the Classified category,” he said.

Publishing Division

Newspaper advertising revenues in August decreased $2.8 million, or 7.6 percent, with nearly 90 percent of the decline attributable to the Tampa market.

Retail advertising revenues grew by $610,000, or 3.7 percent, with about one-half of the increase generated from the Tampa market.  The Tampa Tribune and its associated newspapers, benefiting from new product initiatives, saw higher spending in most of the major Retail categories.  In the Richmond market, which includes the Richmond Times-Dispatch and its associated weekly newspapers, Retail revenues, including advertising from a new hyper-local weekly newspaper, increased nominally.  In Winston-Salem, Retail revenues rose 4.8 percent, due to higher spending in the medical and furniture store categories as well as two special sections on college and professional football in the Winston-Salem Journal.  The Community newspaper group generated a 3.6 percent increase in Retail advertising revenues, with notable growth in our North Carolina markets as well as our Charlottesville and Lynchburg, Virginia, markets.

Classified advertising revenues decreased $3.1 million, or 18.5 percent.  The majority of the decline was due to weakness in the Tampa market, which fell below last year by 34.6 percent, primarily the result of lower real estate and employment advertising, partially offset by higher automotive spending.

Classified revenue for the Richmond market declined 8.6 percent, due to lower real estate and employment advertising, offset partially by higher automotive revenues.  The Winston-Salem market saw a 12.6 percent drop, as automotive and real estate advertising revenues were down, partially offset by higher employment revenues.  The Community newspaper markets decreased 5.9 percent.

For the three metro newspaper markets, real estate revenues were down 41.4 percent, employment revenues decreased 23 percent, and automotive revenues were down slightly.

National revenues declined $265,000, or 8.6 percent, mostly because of a 24.5 percent decrease in Tampa, the result of lower advertising in virtually all categories.  National revenues in Winston-Salem decreased 9.4 percent, reflecting decreased spending by telecommunications and national automotive advertisers. Conversely, the Richmond market generated a 26.6 percent increase, primarily the result of higher spending in the telecommunications category and advertising from two petroleum accounts this year.

Circulation revenues were down less than 1 percent, the result of Daily and Sunday net-paid circulation declines for the month partially offset by rate increases at the metro newspaper markets.  Seven Media General newspapers generated increases in net-paid Daily Circulation, and six did so for Sunday.

Broadcast Division

In the Broadcast Division, gross time sales increased $205,000, or 0.7 percent, and reflected growth in Local and National transactional sales while Political spending was lower in this off-election year.

Local time sales increased $710,000, or 4.1 percent, primarily due to higher spending in the hardware/home improvement, health care/medical and automotive categories, partially offset by lower fast food and telecommunications advertising. 

National time sales rose $1.9 million, or 18.6 percent, as a result of higher spending in the telecommunications, automotive and financial categories.

Political revenues of $555,000 in the month compared to $3 million last August, and represented widely disseminated campaign spending from gubernatorial and lieutenant governor races in Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky as well as issue advertising in Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina and Georgia.

Interactive Media Division

Interactive Media Division revenues increased 29.3 percent, as a result of significantly higher revenues from advergaming and solid increases in Local and National/Regional advertising.  Classified revenues decreased 5.4 percent, reflecting the overall softness in newspaper Classified advertising, which impacts the upsell rate to the company’s Web sites.  Revenues from the Yahoo!HotJobs employment initiative helped mitigate the effect of the overall softness in online Classified advertising.

Local online revenues grew 44.8 percent over 2006, primarily due to a continued focus on direct sales.  National/Regional advertising increased 72.6 percent, reflecting higher spending from national agencies.  Page views and visitor sessions increased 9.8 percent and 13 percent, respectively, excluding the new NBC station 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