Higher retrans fees and political revenue, along with strong gains in local, national and website sales, drive revenue to $84 million.
Media General Inc. today reported that its broadcast and digital revenue in the second quarter increased 17.3% to $84.1 million, from $71.7 million last year, with broadcast accounting for 17.1%.
Local time sales increased 4.4% to $47 million, from $45 million last year.
National time sales increased 2.9% to $23.4 million, from $22.7 million last year.
The largest broadcast advertising category, automotive, increased 26.5%. Other key categories delivering increases were financial, grocery, travel, home improvement, professional services and medical. Categories that declined included department stores, furniture, telecommunications and restaurants.
Political revenues were $7.5 million, compared with $600,000 last year. Cable and satellite retransmission fees increased 80% to $9.6 million, from $5.4 million last year.
Broadcast websites generated $2.5 million in advertising revenues, up 18.6% from last year. Local advertising revenue grew 26%, driven by sales initiatives and new services, including mobile advertising. Total Web audience growth continued, including robust activity from mobile devices. Unique visitors to websites from mobile devices nearly quadrupled in the second quarter, while unique visitors were even with last year from desktops.
Total operating costs increased 3.4%. Corporate expense of $8.5 million was about even with last year.
Net loss in the second quarter was $146.3 million, or $6.48 per share, including an after-tax loss of $131.7 million related to the divestiture of discontinued operations.
On June 25, the first day of the third quarter, Media General became a pure-play broadcast television company following the sale of virtually all of its newspapers to a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, World Media Enterprises.
Marshall N. Morton, president-CEO, said: “We are very pleased with our new focus as a TV broadcaster. 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. Media General’s stations are by and large the No. 1 or 2 station in their markets. Top-rated newscasts attract political advertising and our stations have done an excellent job capitalizing on the event-driven revenue opportunities of this year,” Morton added.
Read the company’s report here.