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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Media General Reports October 2008 Revenues

RICHMOND, Va. – Media General, Inc. (NYSE: MEG) today released its monthly revenues report for October 2008.  Total company revenues of $85.9 million compared with $91.2 million in October 2007.  The year-over-year decrease of 5.8 percent was the company’s second lowest monthly percentage decrease in 2008, mostly attributable to $21 million of Political advertising revenues in the month, which led to an 8.4 percent increase in Broadcast Division revenues in October.  Interactive Media Division revenues grew 6.8 percent, due to increased Local online advertising and revenues from, acquired on March 31, 2008. Offsetting the growth in these two divisions was a 16.9 percent revenue decrease in the Publishing Division, mostly reflecting a prolonged weakness in newspaper Classified advertising.

“Political revenues in October were driven by presidential campaign spending, mainly in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia; U.S. congressional races in Ohio, North Carolina, Mississippi and South Carolina; state elections in Ohio; and issue spending in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Mississippi,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and chief executive officer.  “Through fiscal October, which ended November 2, 2008, our total Political revenues were $35.5 million.  For 2008, our Political revenues will total nearly $38 million.  The volume of Political advertising on Media General television stations was in line with our expectations; however, total billings for that volume were less robust than in some prior election years because soft National and Local transactional sales exerted downward pressure on rates.

“The revenue growth in the Interactive Media Division was attributable to a 51.7 percent increase in Local advertising, driven by our market focus on sales initiatives, and another excellent monthly performance by,” Mr. Morton said.  “ completed its seventh month since our acquisition and continues to outperform expectations as thousands of consumers visit this online shopping and deal site.” 

Publishing Division
Publishing Division revenues declined 16.9 percent in October.  Excluding Florida, where revenues decreased 22.4 percent, Publishing total revenues in October were down 14.6 percent.  Revenues in Virginia and North Carolina decreased 17 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively.  Higher telecommunications, financial and home improvement advertising in Alabama helped to hold the decline in this market to just 3.5 percent.  In South Carolina, where revenues were about even, advertising from a weekly newspaper acquired earlier this year helped to offset a total spending decline.

Classified advertising revenues decreased $6.3 million, or 37.9 percent, reflecting reductions in all markets.  The declines were steepest in the company’s three metro markets, especially Tampa.  For the metro markets combined, employment revenues decreased 58.5 percent, real estate advertising revenues decreased 49 percent, and automotive revenues declined 48.1 percent.

Retail advertising revenues declined $2.1 million, or 9.5 percent, mostly due to lower spending in the Tampa market across several key categories.  At the same time, Retail advertising total spending in October improved compared with the prior three months in 2008.  The Richmond and Winston-Salem markets delivered stronger results than the company’s Tampa market and the community newspapers as a group.

National advertising revenues decreased $200,000, or 5.6 percent, the best performance in this category in 2008.  National advertising in the Tampa market increased over last year, reflecting higher spending in the grocery store, telecommunications and financial categories.  All other markets reported lower National advertising in the month.

Circulation revenues increased $280,000, or 4.6 percent, reflecting Daily single-copy and home-delivery price increases in a number of markets, which more than offset volume declines.

Broadcast Division
Broadcast gross time sales increased $5.9 million, or 15.5 percent, as a result of Political advertising revenues.  National and Local advertising in the month reflected the normal displacement resulting from Political placements, as well as lower advertiser spending due to the depressed economy.

Local time sales decreased $7.8 million, or 34 percent, and National time sales declined $5 million, or 37.1 percent.

Interactive Media Division
In the Interactive Media Division, increased revenues were driven by a 51.7 percent increase in Local advertising.  Local advertising rose due to staffing, training and focused sales initiatives.

National/Regional advertising declined 30.4 percent, mostly as result of reduced spending in Tampa.  While online Classified advertising decreased 31.9 percent overall, an increase in employment liner advertising through the Yahoo!HotJobs partnership and higher rates helped to mitigate the shortfall.

In the advertising services group, generated strong revenues. 

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to various risks and uncertainties and should be understood in the context of the company’s publicly available reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Media General’s future performance could differ materially from its current expectations.

About Media General
Media General is a leading provider of local news, information and entertainment over multiple media platforms.  The company serves markets primarily in the Southeastern United States.  Media General publishes 24 daily newspapers, including The Tampa Tribune, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Winston-Salem Journal; and community newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina; plus approximately 275 weekly newspapers and other targeted publications.  The company owns and operates 19 network-affiliated television stations that reach approximately 30 percent of the television households in the Southeast and nearly 9 percent of those in the United States.  The company’s interactive media operations include Web sites and portals that are associated with each of its newspapers and television stations as well as with many specialty publications, and three growing interactive advertising services companies, Blockdot, Inc., and NetInformer.

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Investor Contact:
Lou Anne Nabhan
(804) 649-6103

Media Contact:
Ray Kozakewicz
(804) 649-6748