Media General books big revenue boost from Olympics


The Vancouver Winter Olympics may have been a loss leader for NBC, but Media General says ad sales for the games on its eight NBC affiliates exceeded expectations. We would note also that Media General’s footprint is concentrated in the Southeast, which is not generally considered winter sport territory.

 “The outstanding efforts of our sales teams generated strong revenues from local and national advertisers from Winter Olympics packages. All of our stations did a terrific job capitalizing on the opportunity presented by airing the Games. We were aggressive in promoting the unique value we bring to our local communities and their viewers, and we succeeded in retaining new viewers for our adjoining local newscasts,” said CEO Marshall Morton.

Media General had been looking to sell about $7 million in Olympics advertising. The actual number was $7.6 million.

Five of Media General’s eight NBC affiliates are in Nielsen metered markets. All were #1 in the ratings during the games and the company said the audience tallies exceeded expectations.

Average household primetime viewing Station/Market

Media General Households


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Source: Media General; The Nielsen Company

Media General’s other NBC affiliates in non-metered markets are WSLS-TV Roanoke, VA; WSAV-TV Savannah, GA; and WCBD-TV Charleston, SC.
“Strong sales efforts were also evident in the revenues generated from Super Bowl packages on our eight CBS stations in February – a total of $912,000. In addition, Political spending is ramping up, and we expect the first quarter of 2010 to include $1.1 million of Political revenues. Media General’s revenue performance since mid-2009 reflects the benefit of an overall transformation of our sales culture to one that provides our customers with multimedia solutions. All of our sellers are now selling all of our products to all of our customers. This new focus is enabling Media General to deliver revenue results that are at the top of our peer group,” said Morton.

With its report on Olympics revenues on Monday, Media General also provided investors with this update on revenues for January and February: For the first two months of 2010, broadcast revenues increased 11.4% and Digital Media revenues increased 10% compared to last year. Newspaper revenue declines moderated to 10.7% in the first two months of 2010. Total Media General revenues declined 1.1% in the first two months of 2010.

Here is detail on revenues in Q1 from the Olympics, Super Bowl and Political: Media General said Winter Olympics revenues were $7,614,000, compared to none a year earlier; Super Bowl revenues on its NBC stations were $912,000, down from $3,244,000 a year earlier when the game was in Tampa and broadcast on its CBS affiliates, including WFLA-TV Tampa; and Q1 political reveues are expected to be $1.1 million vs. only $167,000 a year ago.