FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Media General Reports December 2007 Revenues
RICHMOND, Va. – Media General, Inc. (NYSE: MEG) today reported December 2007 total revenues of $70.6 million, a decrease of 3 percent from approximately $73 million in December 2006, excluding about $18.5 million in revenues from an extra week in fiscal December 2006, composed of about $10.6 million in the Publishing Division, approximately $7.6 million in the Broadcast Division and about $300,000 in the Interactive Media Division. Although it is difficult to precisely quantify the impact of the additional week, the company has estimated the impact on key metrics throughout this release in order to allow meaningful comparisons. By business segment, Publishing Division revenues decreased an estimated 9 percent, Broadcast Division revenues increased approximately 3 percent and Interactive Media Division revenues rose approximately 50 percent.
Newspaper advertising revenues in December decreased approximately $4 million, or 11 percent. Most of the decline was attributable to the Tampa market, driven in particular by lower Classified revenues.
Classified advertising revenues decreased approximately $2 million, or 19 percent, with real estate, employment and automotive Classified all lower in the company’s metro markets. In the Tampa market, Classified revenues decreased approximately 38 percent, the Richmond market declined about 17 percent and the Winston-Salem market decreased an estimated 8 percent. The Community newspaper markets decreased approximately 5 percent. For the company’s three metro markets, real estate revenues were down about 40 percent, employment revenues decreased approximately 36 percent, and automotive revenues declined an estimated 7 percent.
Retail advertising revenues declined by less than $1 million, or 4 percent. The Tampa market reported an approximate 9 percent decrease, due to lower spending in most categories, and the Richmond market experienced an estimated 3 percent decrease, reflecting a decline in home improvement, drug store and furniture store advertising, offset in part by revenues from a weekly newspaper acquired in 2007. In Winston-Salem, Retail revenues were down about 2 percent, with lower spending in the department store and home improvement categories. The Community newspaper group saw a nominal decrease.
National revenues decreased an estimated $1 million, or 28 percent. The Richmond market generated an approximate 17 percent increase, due to higher spending in the insurance and telecommunications categories. The Tampa market declined approximately 46 percent, due to lower telecommunications, medical and financial spending. National revenues in Winston-Salem increased about 9 percent, reflecting higher automotive and medical advertising.
Circulation revenues were down less than $100,000, or 2 percent, as Daily and Sunday net-paid circulation declines for the month were partially offset by rate increases at the metro newspapers. Four Media General newspapers generated increases in net-paid Daily Circulation, and four did so for Sunday.
Gross time sales increased approximately 1 percent, reflecting higher Local time sales.
Local time sales increased just under $500,000, or 2 percent, primarily from higher grocery store and drug store advertising, partially offset by lower spending in the automotive and fast food categories.
National time sales declined approximately $700,000, or 7 percent, as a result of decreased advertising in the automotive and corporate categories, partially offset by increased spending in medical and specialty store advertising.
Political revenues of $980,000 compared with $385,000 last December, and were generated from strong Presidential primary campaign spending in South Carolina, Florida and Georgia, U.S. Congressional races in Mississippi and Kentucky, and issue spending in a number of states.
Interactive Media Division
Interactive Media Division revenues increased approximately 50 percent, due to significantly higher revenues from the advergaming business, solid growth in National/Regional and Local advertising and revenues from the Yahoo!HotJobs employment Classified partnership. Revenues from Yahoo!HotJobs helped mitigate overall softness in Classified revenues, which declined about 9 percent.
Local online revenues grew about 78 percent over December 2006, reflecting a continued focus on direct sales. National/Regional advertising increased approximately 58 percent, resulting from higher spending by national agencies. Advergaming revenues nearly tripled from last year. Page views and visitor sessions in December increased 12 percent and 17 percent, respectively, excluding the new NBC stations. The improvement is due, in part, to increased audience associated with locally produced content in some markets.
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.
Lou Anne Nabhan