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Media General Reports 17% Broadcast Revenue Increase

Media General reported second-quarter broadcast revenues of $80.6 million, up 17.1% from its broadcast performance in the second quarter of last year. On June 25, Media General sold all but one of its newspapers, and now describes itself as "a local broadcast television and digital media company."

The company reported second-quarter operating income of $16.4 million, compared with $6.2 million in the 2011 second quarter. The increase is mostly due to strong political advertising and higher retransmission fees at Media General's 18 stations, and the strength of core advertising.

"We are very pleased with our new focus as a TV broadcaster," said Marshall N. Morton, president and CEO. "Our year-over-year operating improvement was driven by a 17.1% increase in broadcast revenues. Strong political revenues were generated by the presidential campaigns, Super PACs, the Massachusetts Senate race, and congressional primaries in Virginia and South Carolina. Core time sales, excluding political revenues, increased 3.9% overall, mostly driven by higher automotive category spending. Retransmission fees increased 80% as a result of contract renewals that reflected competitive market rates."

Total broadcast and digital revenues in the second quarter increased 17.3% to $84.1 million. Political revenues were $7.5 million, compared with $600,000 last year. Cable and satellite retransmission fees increased 80% to $9.6 million.

The newspaper deal, with a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, closed at the start of the third quarter.