Media General reported first quarter broadcast revenue of
$67.1 million, up 12.1% from the $59.9 million it reported in the same quarter
a year ago. Local ad sales climbed 12.3% and national ad revenue rose 13.1%.
Retransmission revenue was $4.6 million--up 27.5% over the same quarter last
Media General reported total revenues of $158.9 million,
essentially flat with last year. Total operating costs decreased 12%; the
company had around 600 fewer employees in the 2010 first quarter than it did in
the 2009 first quarter.
Digital revenues were up 9.8% in the first quarter.
"We benefited from strong advertising sales during the
Winter Olympics and March Madness, and political spending began to ramp up," said
Media General President/CEO Marshall N. Morton. "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."
Morton said the broadcast division "has very strong
momentum" that he expects to continue. "Broadcast revenues are expected to
increase by about the same rate as the first quarter," the company said in a
statement, "based on stronger political spending as state primaries begin."
In January, Media General reported
a 17% decline in revenue in the fourth quarter 2009.