Media General reported $366 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2015, a 69% increase from its $217 million in Q4 2014. However, Media General acquired LIN Media on Dec. 19, 2014, partway through the quarter; including those stations’ results for the full quarter, the $366 million in Q4 2015 was actually marked a 5% decrease.
For full year 2015, Media General collected $1.3 billion in revenue, a 93% jump from 2014 but a 1% drop including the LIN stations.
Digital revenue climbed 223% to $44 million this past quarter. While political was down 69% to $10.4 million in a non-election year, national ad revenue rose 64% to $59 million and local ad revenue surged 93% to $241.6 million.
Counting LIN results for the full quarter in 2014, digital revenue decreased 5%, national went down 3% and local increased only 18%.
“2015 was a transformational year for Media General as we successfully integrated the company’s largest group of acquired TV stations and over-achieved our synergy goals,” said Vince Sadusky, Media General president and CEO. “Importantly, we remained focused on executing our strategy and strengthened our business operations.”
Media General is expecting a strong 2016, not only with additional revenues from the presidential election and Summer Olympics but also as a new company. In late January, Media General agreed to be acquired by Nexstar Broadcasting Group.
“Looking ahead, we are excited about 2016 as we will realize a full-year of synergies and look forward to the return of political and Olympic advertising,” Sadusky said. “We are also eager to complete our transaction with Nexstar, which will result in a stronger local media company that is better able to serve its communities and advertisers.”
During the earnings call, Sadusky was asked about the spectrum auction. “We have not heard any news about pushing the auction further,” he said, adding that the FCC was committed and focusing on the date. Sadusky said Media General’s interest in participating has not changed since Investor Day.
“It’s incredibly challenging to know what the results of the auction are going to be,” he said. “For our shareholders, it’s important to carve out our value of that oil in the ground and give our shareholders an opportunity to participate in that value, whatever it will be.”