Quarterly report

Media General 4Q Revenue Jumps 40%

The total of $108.7 million was driven by political, rebounding automotive and a 84% increase in retrans fees. Core local and national advertising revenues, excluding political, increased 4%.

Media General Inc., a broadcast television and digital media company, today reported fourth-quarter 2012 total revenues of $108.7 million compared with $77.9 million in the prior year, an increase of 39.5%.

Operating income wasf $42.3 million, more than 2.5 times greater than fourth-quarter 2011 operating income of $16.3 million. Net income in the fourth quarter was $17.6 million, or 62 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $3.3 million, or 15 cents per share, in the prior year.

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Local gross time sales increased 5.3% to $50.7 million. National gross time sales grew 1.4% to $25.2 million. The largest advertising category, automotive, increased 21%. Other key categories with strong growth in the quarter included entertainment, home improvement and furniture.

Cable and satellite retransmission fees rose 84.3% to $9.9 million, as a result of contract renewals in late 2011 that included higher rates. Digital revenues increased 18.8% to $2.7 million, driven primarily by local advertising, which grew 16%.

Higher station operating costs in the fourth quarter reflected an increase in commissions from the strong revenue performance, higher NBC affiliate fees, a five-day furlough repayment in December 2012, and prior-year savings of nearly $2 million from a companywide furlough program.

Corporate expense of $101,000 in the fourth quarter compared with $9.6 million the year before, and included two large non-recurring gains in the current quarter. The gains included a non-cash curtailment of more than $2 million resulting from former newspaper employees leaving the company’s post-retirement plans, and a $5 million non-cash gain resulting from outsourcing disability coverage for substantially all Medicare eligible participants to a third party.

Brand Connections

George L. Mahoney, president-CEO of Media General, said: “Media General had an exceptional fourth quarter, marked by 40% revenue growth. Record political advertising was $30 million. Core local and national advertising revenues, excluding political, increased 4%. Media General was particularly well positioned to maximize political advertising opportunities, with six of our stations located in four of the key battleground states. Broadcast cash flow in the fourth quarter was $50.4 million, with a margin of 46%.”

Starting with the full-year 2013, Media General’s fiscal year will be a conventional calendar year (Jan. 1-Dec. 31). Previously, the company’s fiscal year ended on the last Sunday in December, a newspaper industry practice.  Fiscal year 2012 began on Dec. 26, 2011, and ended on Dec. 31, 2012. Fiscal year 2011 began on Dec. 27, 2010, and ended on Dec. 25, 2011.

Read the company’s report here.


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