Media General TV stations post profit

Media General’s 19 TV stations generated revenues of $87.5 million for the quarter ending last Dec. 28, the Richmond, Va., multimedia group reported. The total was down nearly 7 percent from the $94 million posted 4Q07. The division reported a profit of $21.6 million, down nearly 9 percent from 4Q07.

Political revenues totaled $23.4 million for the quarter, the majority generated mainly from presidential campaign spending in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia; and congressional races, state elections and issue spending across several other states. Gross time sales declined $6.2 million, or more than 6 percent, on weak economic conditions across Media General markets. Local time sales declined by $14.9 million--nearly 26 percent; national was down by $10.6 million, or 30.6 percent. Both declines were attributed to lower automotive spending.

For the full year, the TV stations posted a $61.8 million profit on revenues of $324.7 million, compared to $63.3 million on $338.4 million for 2007.

Media General (NYSE: MEG) also took a one-time charge to reflect the reduced value of TV station ownership:

“The market's perception of the value of media stocks remains negative. As a result of these factors, the company recognized a pre-tax non-cash impairment charge of $130.4 million, primarily to write down the value of FCC licenses and network affiliation agreements in the broadcast division to their estimated fair values.”

Media General’s combined newspaper, online and broadcast divisions posted an overall 4Q loss of $85.5 million, compared to a profit of $9.6 million one year previous, on revenues of $207 million and $235 million, respectively. For the full year ending Dec. 28, 2008, the company posted a net loss of $632 million on revenues of more than $800 million, down from a profit of $10.7 million on revenues of $899 million for 2007.