Media General Misses

The third quarter is weak.
Publish date:

Media General (MEG) missed third-quarter targets as the company's publishing unit posted declines in revenue and profit.

The Richmond, Va., company made $7.7 million, or 33 cents a share, from continuing operations for the quarter ended Sept. 24, down from the year-ago $10 million, or 42 cents a share. Revenue rose 14% from a year ago to $241 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a 44-cent profit on sales of $253 million.

Publishing Division profit for the quarter declined 12%, reflecting a decrease in total revenues of 0.8% and an increase in total expenses of 1.8%. Newspaper advertising revenues were even with last year's third quarter, and reflected an increase in Retail revenues offset by declines in National and Classified revenues.

Broadcast Division profit for the quarter increased 83% to $21.9 million, including the new stations. Excluding the new stations, segment profit increased 33%. Total Broadcast revenues grew 45.4%, to $94.2 million, including the new stations, primarily driven by strong Political revenues. Excluding the four new stations, total revenues were up 7.2%. Political revenues of $ 11.5 million were up from last year's $445,000, and the new stations generated $5.1 million of the total.

For the Publishing Division in the fourth quarter, the company currently expects revenue growth of 5% to 7%, driven mostly by the 53rd week in 2006, which occurs the last week of December.

For the Broadcast Division in the fourth quarter, gross time sales are expected to increase approximately 70%, including the four NBC stations. Political revenues are projected to be approximately $25 million in the fourth quarter, including the new stations.