FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Media General Reports September 2007 Revenues
RICHMOND, Va. – Media General, Inc. (NYSE: MEG) today reported September 2007 total revenues of $73.7 million, a 7.3 percent decrease from September 2006. By business segment, Publishing Division total revenues decreased 7 percent, mostly reflecting continued weakness in Classified advertising; Broadcast Division total revenues decreased 9 percent, due to lower Political advertising in this off-election year; and Interactive Media Division total revenues rose 25.7 percent.
Newspaper advertising revenues in September decreased $3.3 million, or 8.7 percent, with more than 85 percent of the decline attributable to the Tampa market.
Classified advertising revenues decreased $2.6 million, or 15.7 percent. The majority of the reduction was due to weakness in the Tampa market, which was below last year by 35.3 percent. Classified revenues in the Richmond market increased 4.8 percent, due to higher real estate advertising as well as a nominal increase in automotive revenues, offset partially by lower help-wanted revenues. The Winston-Salem market saw a 3.5 percent reduction, as automotive advertising revenues were down, partially offset by higher employment and real estate revenues. The Community newspaper markets decreased 9.4 percent.
For the company’s three metro markets, real estate revenues were down 21.4 percent, employment revenues decreased 15.7 percent, and automotive revenues declined 20.2 percent.
Retail advertising revenues declined by $530,000, or 3.1 percent. The Tampa Tribune and its associated newspapers reported a 3.5 percent decrease, due to lower spending in the home improvement, home furnishings, grocery store and department store categories, partially offset by higher revenues from new product initiatives. The Richmond Times-Dispatch and its associated weekly newspapers saw a 9.4 percent revenue decline, as a result of decreases in department store, drug store and home improvement advertising. In Winston-Salem, Retail revenues declined 3.7 percent, reflecting lower spending in the home improvement and department store categories, partially offset by higher revenues from new products. The Community newspaper group generated a 1.4 percent increase in Retail advertising revenues, with growth in the North Carolina, Lynchburg and Alabama markets.
National revenues decreased $100,000, or 3.1 percent, due to a 14.8 percent decline at Tampa, the result of lower advertising in the media, travel and telecommunications categories. Conversely, the Richmond market generated an 11.1 percent increase, primarily the result of higher spending in the telecommunications and national automotive categories as well as increased advertising from three major oil companies. National revenues in Winston-Salem rose 17 percent, reflecting increased spending by travel and preprint advertisers and additional spending from a major oil company.
Circulation revenues were down $100,000, or 1.6 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 eight did so for Sunday.
In the Broadcast Division, gross time sales decreased $3.5 million, or 10.1 percent, due to lower Political spending in this off-election year. Political revenues of $1.4 million in the month, although stronger than anticipated, compared to $6.8 million last September and represented spending for Presidential candidates and image campaigns in the current year in Florida and South Carolina, gubernatorial and lieutenant governor races in Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky as well as issue advertising in Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and Georgia.
Local time sales increased $635,000, or 3.5 percent, primarily due to higher spending in the automotive, department store and media categories, partially offset by lower furniture and fast food advertising.
National time sales rose $1.3 million, or 12.8 percent, as a result of higher spending in the telecommunications, corporate and furniture categories.
Interactive Media Division
Interactive Media Division revenues increased 25.7 percent, reflecting significantly higher revenues from the advergaming business, strong growth in National/Regional and Local advertising and revenues from the Yahoo!HotJobs employment initiative. Classified revenues rose 2 percent, with all markets exceeding last year except for Tampa. Revenues from the Yahoo!HotJobs initiative helped mitigate the overall softness in online Classified advertising.
Local online revenues grew 44.2 percent over 2006, primarily due to a continued focus on direct sales. National/Regional advertising increased 51.4 percent, reflecting higher spending from national agencies. Advergaming revenues more than doubled from last year. Page views were down slightly from last year, while visitor sessions increased 3.5 percent, excluding the new NBC station Web sites. These results reflected fewer weather-related events this year, which are leading traffic drivers.
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.
Lou Anne Nabhan