Media General reported broadcast revenue of $70.35 million in the second quarter, off almost 3% from the $72.5 million it reported in the second quarter last year. Excluding political advertising in both years, broadcast revenues increased 6.6% in the second quarter; local time sales were up 5.5% this time around, and national sales grew 2.3%.
Media General reported overall operating income in the second quarter of $6.8 million, compared with $16.3 million in the second quarter last year. Total revenues in the quarter decreased 6.8% to $154.8 million. Last year's revenues included $7 million of political advertising, compared with $600,000 this year, and around $1 million of BP image advertising related to the oil spill.
Total print revenues were down 9.7%. Local media websites showed an 18% gain in revenues.
President/CEO Marshall Morton credited Media General's TV stations with boosting the bottom line in a down economy. "Media General's second-quarter results reflected the impact of a faltering economic recovery. Our broadcast television stations and website operations delivered relatively strong results, while our print operations, which are more immediately sensitive to economic shifts, and advertising services, were weaker," he said. "To counter economic weakness, we have reduced discretionary spending, implemented targeted reductions in force and scheduled a furlough program for the second half of the year. We now expect total operating costs for this year to be down 3% from last year.
Morton said the stations "did an excellent job of replacing a large portion of last year's political revenues."
He forecasted political revenues for 2011 to be approximately $7 million, and auto advertising picking up by end of summer.