The gain to $93.8 million is powered by a 45% boost in automotive as well as political, retransmission consent fees from cable and satellite and website ad revenue.
Media General today reported third quarter results that included total revenue of $93.8 million, a 41.9% increase from $66.1 million in the same quarter last year. Operating income for the quarter was $22.5 million, up from $4.8 million in the 2011 third quarter.
Local gross time sales increased nearly 16% to $47.4 million. National gross time sales grew 19.2% to nearly $25 million.
The largest advertising category, automotive, increased 45% due, in part, to comparisons against last year’s weak spending following Japan’s tsunami and to the strength of Olympic advertising this year.
Other key categories growing in the quarter were financial, grocery, travel, telecommunications and medical. Categories that declined included restaurants and department stores.
Cable and satellite retransmission fees rose nearly 80% to $9.4 million in the quarter, as a result of contract renewals that the company said reflected competitive market rates.
TV station websites generated $2.6 million in advertising revenues, up 20.7% from last year, driven primarily by local advertising, which grew 28%. Total digital audience growth continued, including robust activity from mobile devices. Unique visitors and page views from mobile devices each increased by 68% in the third quarter, while unique visitors from desktops grew 13%.
Station operating costs increased 12.1% in the current quarter, mostly due to higher sales commissions related to increased revenues and the absence of $1.2 million in expense savings from last year’s furlough program.
Marshall N. Morton, Media General president-CEO, said: “Operating income was more than four times last year, mostly driven by a nearly 42% increase in revenues. Political revenues totaled nearly $20 million and reflected the strong positions of our television stations in their markets and the presence of six Media General stations in presidential battleground states.
“Our eight NBC stations generated a record $15.5 million of revenues from the Summer Olympics, capitalizing on record viewership for the London games. Gross time sales, excluding political revenues, increased 16.8% in the third quarter, reflecting growth in several major advertising categories and the strength of the Olympics advertising.”
Read the company’s report here.