Media General, offering its first earnings report with the self-description
of "broadcast television and digital media company," announced $93.8
million in third quarter revenue, up 42% from the same quarter a year ago.
Nearly $20 million in political advertising paced the Media General stations.
Media General sold 63 newspapers to Berkshire Hathaway in
May, and offloaded its lone remaining one, The
Tampa Tribune, earlier this month.
Third-quarter income was $22.5 million, compared with $4.8
million in the 2011 third quarter.
"Operating income was more than four times last year,
mostly driven by a nearly 42% increase in revenues," said Marshall N.
Morton, president and CEO of Media General. "Political revenues totaled
nearly $20 million and reflected the strong positions of our television
stations in their markets and the presence of six Media General stations in
presidential battleground states. Our eight NBC stations generated a record
$15.5 million of revenues from the Summer Olympics, capitalizing on record viewership
for the London Games."
Gross time sales, excluding political revenues, increased
16.8% in the third quarter. Local gross time sales increased nearly 16% while
national gross sales grew 19.2%. The automotive category increased 45% due, in
part, to comparisons against last year's weak spending following Japan's
tsunami, and to the strength of Olympic advertising this year.
Media General's retransmission fees rose nearly 80% to $9.4
million in the quarter. Station operating costs increased 12.1% in the current
quarter, mostly due to higher sales commissions.
Media General expects fourth quarter total revenues to
increase 25-28% over the previous year's fourth quarter.