UBS Global Media Conference: Media General Introduces New Profile, New Boss

The one positive stemming from fiscal cliff crisis -- political spending
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Media General's executives introduced the company's new profile as a pure-play broadcaster, and the incoming CEO George Mahoney, to investors at the UBS Global Media Conference in New York.

Besides selling its newspapers, Media General discontinued its digital ad services business and broadcast equipment subsidiary. It is wholly invested in TV stations as president & CEO Marshall Morton retires at the end of 2012, and Mahoney -- currently VP and COO -- succeeds him.

"We are now focusing all of our resources on our television stations and our growing digital and mobile platforms," said Morton.

Media General did some downsizing to match its new needs, reducing corporate expense from $32 million to $20 million as it cut 75 corporate positions.

Media General reported $64 million in political revenue in 2012, up from previous guidance of $57-$58 million, along with $37 million in retransmission revenue, and $10 million in digital revenue.

Revenue in 2013 will be down, said company brass, while $5 million in issues-related political money will help mitigate the shortfall, as will the Super Bowl on Media General's eight CBS affiliates. Concerns over the fiscal cliff have sparked some ad spending, said Media General leadership.

"Media General is a much stronger company, with excellent growth potential, based on our new model as a broadcaster," summed up Morton. "Our operating results and cash flow are strong, even in the ‘odd' years."

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