) -- Shares of

Media General


plunged more than 8% today after the company reported a loss of $10.7 million during the third quarter.

Media General owns and operates several major newspapers in the U.S. such as

The Tampa Tribune

and the

Winston-Salem Journal

, as well as several television stations

For the quarter ended Sept. 26, the company saw a loss of $10.7 million, or 48 cents per diluted share, compared with a loss of $62.5 million, or $2.80, in the same period a year ago. Analysts had expected the company to report a loss of 38 cents.

Revenue rose 3.3% to $163.2 million from $158 million during the quarter. Publishing revenue fell 7.6% to $77.7 million from $84.1 million. The decline was offset by the 18.4% increase in broadcast revenue to $75 million from $63.4 million.

"Transactional advertising revenues strengthened in the quarter and offset the lower-than-expected political revenues," president and CEO Marshall Morton said. "National television advertising, excluding political, was up 12%, and local time sales increased 4%."

The company's local online revenues rose 22.5%, driven by continued aggressive sales initiatives. Online page views increased 5.6% and the unique visitor count for its newspaper and television Web sites was up 3.5% in the third quarter.

"We were pleased with our progress implementing an array of new online advertising opportunities. In the third quarter, our local media Web sites generated a 15% increase in revenues," Morton said. "Online classified revenues grew for the third quarter in a row and increased more than 12%, due in part to our


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For the first nine months of the year, the company had a loss of $31.7 million, or $1.42 a share, compared with a loss of $63.1 million, or $2.84 a share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenue fell more than 80% to $88.2 million from $480.5 million.

Management expects total revenue to increase up to 8% in the fourth quarter of 2010 on an estimated 24% to 26% gain in broadcast revenue attributed to strong political advertising.

The company expects the publishing revenues to continue to drop as much as 7% in the fourth quarter, but expects to see up to an 11% gain in digital media revenues.

-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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