Media General reported first quarter revenue of $144 million, 16% better than the first quarter 2013 earnings. Broadcast cash flow (BCF) increased 38% to $45.9 million in the quarter.
On March 21, Media General and LIN Media announced a merger, which is expected to close early in 2015. Media General added $10 million of operating synergies due to a previous merger with Young Broadcasting in November. It is the first quarter whose earnings reflect the merger.
Comparing first-quarter results to the first quarter of 2013 as adjusted for the combined company, George L. Mahoney, president and CEO, said, “Our net operating revenue increased 16% from last year and reflects growth in all of our revenue categories. Core local and national gross time sales increased 4.6%. Automotive and telecommunications advertising increased 20% and 50%, respectively, compared to last year.”
The Media General group also benefitted from advertising related to the Winter Olympics and NCAA basketball tournament, Mahoney added, while political revenues of $4.4 million were more than five times last year’s level. Retransmission consent revenues grew nearly 50% and digital media revenues rose 33%.
Media General announced another $10 million of annualized cost synergies to be realized by the end of the year. “This is in addition to the initial operating and financial synergies we announced at the time of the merger with Young,” said Mahoney. “We will continue to seek out efficiencies and expect to be in a position to announce more savings later this year.”