Earnings: Media General Q3 Profits Fall 67 Percent; Interactive Revs Up 32 Percent; Yahoo Details

This is starting to look like a trend, as yet another newspaper company cites the troubled Florida economy as contributing to its woes. Media General, publisher of The Tampa Tribune and Richmond Times-Dispatch, reported a steep 67 percent drop in quarterly income on a continuing basis, to $2.5 million ($0.11 per share) from $7.7 million ($0.33 per share) last year. Revenues in the quarter slipped 4.5 percent, to $230.3 million from $240.9 million. At its publishing division, the company turned a profit of $22 million on revenue of $131.5 million, down 7.4 percent and 6.7 percent respectively. The broadcast division made $16.2 million on $91 million in sales, for declines of 26.2 percent and 3.5 percent. More after the jump…

The one bright spot was its Interactive Media Division, although it’s not moving the needle. Revenues hit $9.7 million, up 31.9 percent from last year; however, after last quarter’s modest profit, the unit swung to a $1.1 million loss. This excludes a $2.3 million writedown stemming from its investment in an unspecified interactive entertainment company.

Breaking it down, national/regional online revenue jumped 49 percent and local rose 43 percent, while online classifieds slipped 3.5 percent, though that was partially mitigated by the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Hot Jobs partnership. It also said that its Blockdot advergaming business was profitable, with revenues doubling over the past year.
Results | Webcast | Transcipt (via SeekingAlpha)

Conference Call: CEO Marshall Morton didn’t wait for the Q&A to answer the inevitable question about an organizational split, a la Belo. The answer: the company sees no benefit to breaking up its print and broadcast operations. Morton listed a number of reasons why the two sides are good together, including the benefits of an integrated web strategy, better value to advertisers and newsroom synergies. He also predicted that two smaller companies would have a higher cost of capital and a harder time attracting attention from Wall Street analysts.

Yahoo Consortium: COO Reid Ashe discussed the company’s online operations, including the Yahoo Hot Jobs partnership. For the most part, it’s too early for them to give out numbers on the deal, though he did say that all of its employment sites are now integrated with Hot Jobs and that advertising revenue on those sites hit $2.2 million. It’s also seeing traffic gains from initial tests of content sharing and it expects to see CPMs increase as the display advertising component of the deal is rolled out across its sites over the next couple of months. Measurable results should start showing up next year.