TV gives Media General an up quarter


Marshall MortonNewspaper revenues were down, as were digital media revenues, but television saved the day for Media General in Q1 and total revenues were up – though not by much. Cash flow also improved – and by double digits.

Aided by political and retrans gains, television revenues were up 12.4% in Q1 to $73.4 million. Cash flow jumped 41% to $23.4 million.

Print revenues were down 8.3% to $67.3 million, so it was a quarter where TV revenues exceeded newspaper revenues. However, print cash flow improved by 29.4%, although that still brought it to only $3.9 million.

Digital Media, which includes the TV and newspaper websites along with the company’s standalone digital ventures, saw revenues decline 14.3% to $8.8 million. Negative cash flow was $466K, compared to a negative $140K a year earlier.

So for all of Media General, Q1 revenues were up 0.4% to $149.5 million, but cash flow jumped 37.8% to $26.8 million.

“The operating improvement is primarily the result of increased profits at our Broadcast television stations, as they generated 12 percent revenue growth from increased Political revenues and higher retransmission fees. Broadcast platform cash flow margin increased from 25 percent last year to 32 percent this year. Print cash flow increased nearly 30 percent, as our newspapers offset revenue decreases with expense reductions and we realized a significant benefit from the reengineering we implemented at The Tampa Tribune in late 2011. Total company operating costs, excluding impairment, decreased 4.5 percent, as a result of our continued aggressive cost management,” said CEO Marshall Morton (pictured). “All of our geographic markets generated profit improvements over last year,” he added.