Media General Sees Q4 Shortfall

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Newspaper and television broadcast company Media General Inc. on Tuesday forecast fourth-quarter and full-year earnings which missed Wall Street’s consensus estimates.

The company also lowered its fourth-quarter revenue outlook for its publishing division but raised the guidance for its broadcast segment.

Media General sees its fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations in a range of $1.30 to $1.33 per share, shy of analysts’ target of $1.36 per share, according to a poll by Thomson Financial.

Media General also anticipates full-year earnings from continuing operations of between $2.70 and $2.73 per share. Analysts are expecting a higher full-year profit of $2.81 per share.

The company also said at the Credit Suisse Media and Telecom Week Conference that revenue at its publishing unit is expected to grow between 3 percent to 4 percent in the fourth quarter, which includes an extra week compared with the previous year’s final quarter. Excluding the extra week, publishing revenue is seen falling compared to the year-ago period.

Media General previously forecast its publishing division to increase revenue by 5 percent to 7 percent in the quarter.

The company’s broadcast unit anticipates a 71 percent to 73 percent rise in fourth-quarter revenue from the addition of four NBC stations and heavy political spending. Revenue from stations sold is excluded for both 2006 and last year.

The company had previously predicted broadcast division revenue would rise by 70 percent, boosted by $25 million in expected political advertising ahead of November’s national elections.

Media General said its publishing division should see a profit increase next year, while its broadcast unit sees a decline. However, the broadcast division is expected to see increased revenue due to the new NBC stations but partially offset by the absence of political revenue.

Shares of Media General added 6 cents to $37.76 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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