Media General, preparing to be acquired by Nexstar, reported a third-quarter loss as lower-than-expected political ad spending left revenues short of forecasts.
The net loss was $69 million, or 53 cents a share, up from a loss of $48 million, or 38 cents a share, a year ago. The losses were driven by a $113 million charge related to the company’s digital business.
Revenues rose 17% to $377.4 million. Excluding $26 million in political revenue, net revenues were up 11% from a year ago. Digital revenues were down 9% to $40 million.
The results were below Wall Street expectations.
"We delivered record revenues and Adjusted EBITDA during the quarter. Core television advertising grew 3%, primarily due to robust Olympic advertising. Political advertising and pay-TV subscriber fees were key drivers of our 17% increase in total net revenues. Revenue growth, coupled with expense management, helped us achieve a 50% increase in Broadcast Cash Flow and a 58% increase in adjusted EBITDA,” said CEO Vincent Sadusky. “Looking ahead, we are eager and prepared to complete our transaction with Nexstar, which will result in a stronger local media company that is better able to serve its local communities."
The company said that broadcast cash flow increased 50% to $135 million. Core local and national time sales combined, excluding political time sales, increased 3% compared to the prior year and was largely driven by $22 million Olympic advertising revenues. In 2012, Olympic ad revenues were $19 million on a same asset basis.