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Media General Cuts Losses

RICHMOND, VA.: Multimedia company Media General cut its losses on lower revenues for the first quarter of 2010. The company’s 18 TV stations did better over all as print continued to suffer. Broadcast revenues increased 12 percent to $67 million. Local and national time sales were up 12 and 13 percent, respectively, and retransmission revenues rose 27.5 percent to $4.6 million.

“We benefited from strong advertising sales during the Winter Olympics and March Madness, and Political spending began to ramp up,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and CEO. “We also benefited from our lower cost structure. These factors together produced a turnaround in segment operating profit--income of $19.4 million this year, compared with a loss of $780,000 last year. Every segment contributed to this improvement... Our broadcast business has very strong momentum that is expected to continue as political spending increases.”

Media General (NYSE: MEG) largest segment--publishing--generated revenues of $81.3 million versus $89.7 million last year. Consolidated revenues for all segments totaled $158.9 million versus $159.1 million last year, with a net loss of $16.7 million versus $21.3 million. Operating income--before interest expense--was $8.7 million, compared with a loss of $11.6 million in the first quarter of 2009. Media General said the higher interest expense was a result of a new financial structure completed in February 2010.

The company said it expects continued improvement in segment operating results during the second quarter to be “more than offset by higher interest expense and tax expense.” The results will compare to 2Q09 when Media General logged a $7.1 million gain on the sale of its CW affiliate in Jacksonville, Fla. The decline in publishing revenues is expected to continue, as well as the increase in broadcast revenues based on political spending.

More on Media General:
March 8, 2010: Media General’s NBC Affiliates Exceed Olympics Revenue Goal
Media General said today said its eight NBC-affiliated stations generated $7.6 million in ad revenue from the 2010 Winter Olympics, exceeding company expectations by $600,000.

February 8, 2010 : Media General Prices $300 Million Private Offering
Media General has priced its previously announced private offering of senior secured notes due 2017.

January 28, 2010: Media General 4Q09 Revenues Decline 17 Percent
Broadcast revenues for the fourth quarter of 2009 were $71.6 million compared to $86.6 million a year earlier.