‘Tampa Tribune’ Tamps Down Media General May Results

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By: E&P Staff

A 30% drop in classified ad revenues driven by the continuing swoon in the Tampa, Florida, market helped drive down Media General Inc. revenue for May, the Richmond, Va.-based publisher and broadcaster reported Tuesday afternoon.

Media General said its total revenues for the month declined 9.8% from May 2007 to $64.3 million.

Most of the decline came from Media General’s publishing division, which in turn can blame most of its 14.6% revenue fall-out on its Tampa properties, including the Tampa Tribune. Media General said its Florida revenues dropped 22.8% in the month.

Excluding Florida, publishing division revenue would have been down 10.8%, the company said.

It noted that its Alabama papers increased revenue by 1.3%, and that sales were also up, by 1%, in South Carolina, largely on revenues from a new weekly newspaper in the greater Florence/Myrtle Beach market.

Newspaper and publishing classified dropped $ $4.4 million, or 30.1%, again, chiefly because of plunging results in Tampa, and Richmond, Va., where Media General publishes the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

In its three metro daily markets — Tampa, Richmond, and Winston-Salem, N.C. — classifieds were down by big percentages, with help-wanted and real estate each off 41.4%, and automotive revenues down 33.8%.

Retail advertising revenue overall dipped 6.2%, Media General said, mostly on lower spending in Tampa that more than offset a “nominal increase” at Winston-Salem.

National revenues were down 17.7% on lower telecommunications advertising in the Tampa market.

Circulation revenues decreased $185,000, the company said, but three papers, including the Tampa Tribune, reported increases in net paid circ, mostly on higher home delivery trends.

With about an hour of regular trading left Tuesday, Media General (NYSE: MEG) stock was at $14.55, down $1.09, or 0.16%, from its opening.

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