Media General January Revenue Up Despite Decline In Newspaper Division

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By: E&P Staff

Richmond, Va.-based Media General said its total revenue in January increased 4.7% to $80.7 million from 77.1% in January 2006, chiefly on the addition of four NBC television stations acquired last June. On a same-property basis, revenue for the month declined 3.5% in the month.

Media General, publisher of the Tampa Tribune and 24 other dailies as well as 150 weeklies, reported its publishing division revenue fell 6.8% in January.

Newspaper advertising revenue declined 7.5% to $3.3 million for the month, principally on lowered classified revenue.

“While the month of January was soft overall, there were several bright spots,” President and CEO Marshall N. Morton said in a statement. “These included strong Super Bowl advertising on our nine CBS television stations, increased retail advertising revenues in Tampa, classified revenue growth at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and 33% growth in Interactive Media revenues.”

That was offset, he added, by continuing weakness in classified and national newspaper advertising categories, and decreased spending by the automotive industry in both print and broadcast.

In the retail category, he Tampa Tribune and its associated daily newspapers gained 3.9%, with increased spending in the automotive parts, travel and financial categories as well as increased advertising in the Spanish-language weekly Centro.

Retail was up 1% at The Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, driven by office supply and home improvement advertisers. Retail was down 2.6% at the flagship Richmond Times-Dispatch, Media General said, on declines in the department store, medical and drug store categories.

Overall classified advertising revenues decreased $2.2 million, or 11%, at Media General newspapers.

The metro papers took the biggest losses. The Times Dispatch dipped 7.2% mostly on tough comparables with real estate advertising in January 2006. The Tampa Tribune’s classified advertising revenue dropped 28.1%, including a fall of 30.5% in recruitment ads.

Classified revenues at the Winston-Salem Journal decreased 9.8 percent in January.

Employment linage at the company’s three metro newspapers declined 13 percent in January.

Automotive linage for the three plummeted 31%, “reflecting spending constraint from automobile dealers,” Media General said.

Real estate linage for the three metros was down 18.4%.

Circulation revenue declined $310,000, or 3.8%. Media General said approximately 40% of the decrease was the result of a change in wholesale rates to carriers at several newspapers.

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