Whether January was an up month of not depended to a great extent on whether your television stations were in early primary states. Thus, Media General yesterday reported that TV revenues were up 3% for the month to 28.1 million. That included 2.9 million in political spending, compared to 46K a year earlier. Media General’s TV group benefited from presidential primary spending in South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama, as well as early gubernatorial primary spending in North Carolina, congressional races in Mississippi and Kentucky, and issue spending in Florida. Meanwhile, local time sales were down 2.9% for the month, which Media General blamed on lower telecom and furniture store spending, partially offset by higher spending in the auto and fas food categories. National declined 15.9%, with auto and telecom down and services and furniture stores up. Revenues for Media General newspapers fell 14.9% to 41.3 million.
At Gannett, broadcasting revenues were down 6% for the month to 57.2 million, including Captivate. TV station revenues were down 5.9%, with local off 7.8% and national 4.2%. “Significantly higher political advertising was offset by the absence of ad demand related to the Super Bowl that benefited our CBS affiliates in 2007 and a softer economic environment,” the company said. Gannett says TV pacings for Q1 are down in the mid single digits. The nation’s largest newspaper company said January print ad revenues were down 9.2% on a pro forma basis in January to 371.4 million.
Journal Broadcast Group reported January revenues down 0.8% to 13.9 million. Within that, TV was down 1.8% to 8.98 million, while radio gained 1.3% to 4.92 million. For all of Journal Communications, revenues were down 3.1% to 31.92 million. Publishing revenues fell 4.9%, with ad revenues down 6.5%.