Media General Reports Q1 Loss

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By: E&P Staff

Media General reported a Q1 loss of $6.5 million or 27 cents per share compared to 28 cents per share for the same period a year ago. The decline is due to weakness in its broadcasting and publishing divisions. The results include a $1 million pretax charge for costs related to staff reductions in Tampa. Four NBC stations acquired by the company are included in Q1 results as well.

“We are disappointed that 2007 has started out much weaker than anticipated,” Marshall Morton, president and CEO, said in a statement. “The slowing pace of economic growth in the U.S. has affected all our operations because of its impact on advertiser spending. Growth of the Internet, too, is having an affect, however, and we are aggressively creating a dynamic online presence in all markets.”

Publishing division profit plunged 31.3%. Total revenues fell 5.7% and advertising revenue decreased 6.6%.

Retail ad revenue increased 1.6% to $880,00 mostly reflecting new product introductions and higher preprint revenue. The Tampa Tribune reported retail ad revenue grew 4.6%, which reflected increased revenues from a Spanish-language weekly newspaper, a new health publication, and higher spending in the department store, electronics, office supply, and financial categories.

At the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, retail rose 3.6%. Retail revenue at the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch fell 3.3% due to weakness in the department store, medical, and grocery categories.

Classified advertising dropped 13.8% to $7.9 million. The Times-Dispatch reported that classified revenue grew 2.8% on rate increases and growth in real estate lineage. Classified revenue at the Tampa Tribune and Winston-Salem Journal fell 31.2% and 6.6% respectively.

Within the classified category, help-wanted plunged 31.7% at the Tampa Tribune, 11.8% at the Times-Dispatch, and 6.8% at the Winston-Salem Journal.

Auto revenue skidded 27.8% for the company’s three metros.

Real estate revenue was down 20.9%. Increases at the Times-Dispatch, up 15.8% could not offset declines at the Tampa Tribune, down 44.1% and Winston-Salem Journal, down 2.7%.

National advertising slipped 7% to $760,000.

Circulation revenue fell 4% to $850,000. The company said that 80% of the decline was the result of a change in wholesale rates to carriers at several newspapers.

Interactive revenue grew a record 30% to $8 million.

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