Media General Gets Political Boost from TV in 2Q

RICHMOND,VA..: Second-quarter revenues for Media General’s 18 TV stations came in at $72 million, up 13 percent from $64 million last year.

“Media General’s second-quarter operating results included $7 million in political revenues, and our television stations also benefited from increased automotive spending, which was up nearly 42 percent compared with last year,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and CEO.

Consolidated operating income for broadcast, print and online was $16.3 million, up 19 percent from last year on the power of the political cycle at the TV stations.

Media General’s operations are organized in five geographic market segments, plus a sixth segment that includes its interactive advertising services. Operations include TV, three metro and 20 community newspapers (all with Web sites), more than 200 specialty publications and three interactive advertising companies.

- The two TV stations in the Virginia and Tennessee region yielded revenues of nearly $5.3 million, about flat compared to 2Q09 when Virginia elected a governor.

- Media General owns one TV station in Florida--WFLA-TV in Tampa. Revenues for WFLA increased 17 percent to $14.5 million on pumped-up political spending.

- Revenues for the 11 TV stations in the Mid-South region also jumped 17 percent, to $32.1 million. Political spend there was $4.4 million versus $311,000 last year.

- Revenue for North Carolina’s two TV stations increased 10 percent to $5.6 million.

- The two stations in Ohio and Rhode Island saw revenues increase nearly 10 percent to $13.3 million; political was $708,000 versus $119,000 last year.

The company reported a consolidated net loss of $4.3 million, or 19 cents a share, on higher interest expense related to its debt restructuring, and a non-cash tax expense. 2Q09 net income was $20.6 million, or 90 cents a share, on a tax benefit of $11 million and a $7.1 million gain on the sale of a TV station in Jacksonville, Fla. Consolidated broadcast, print and Web revenues in the current quarter increased approximately 2 percent to $166.2 million. Total operating expenses were held even with the prior year.

The company ended the second quarter June 27 with cash and equivalents of $27 million versus $33 million as of Dec. 27, 2009. Long-term debt was $672.9 million versus $711.9 million Dec. 27, 2009.

Shares of Media General (NYSE: MEG) jumped nearly 6 percent in early trading to $10.14. Shares year-to-date are up nearly 30 percent.

For the third quarter of 2010, Media General expects total revenues to increase 6 to 8 percent over 2009. Broadcast revenues are expected to increase more than 20 percent, mostly reflecting political spending. Publishing revenue is expected to decline 3 to 5 percent. Total operating costs are expected to increase 7 to 8 percent, reflecting the absence in 2010 of furlough days and certain cost containment measures in 2010 as well as increased support of new revenue initiatives. The company continues to expect free cash flow for the full year 2010 of $58 million to $60 million, including the $26 million tax refund.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

April 21, 2010: “Media General Cuts Losses”
The company’s 18 TV stations did better over all as print continued to suffer. Broadcast revenues increased 12 percent to $67 million.

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.