Media General’s Online Revs Rise On Classifieds, Local

Although Media General (NYSE: MEG) posted a net loss in Q2 due to higher interest rates on its debt and other expense-related items, the newspaper publisher and broadcast owner did have positive results that will likely bode well for the rest of the industry. In particular, online classifieds were up nearly 16 percent, suggesting that the pullback in that segment spending is over, at least for now.

The online classifieds success was attributed to sales efforts related to Media Gen’s partnerships with Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) on display sales and with online real estate marketplace Zillow. Things have been going so well between Yahoo and Media Gen’s newspapers, which include The Tampa Tribune and Richmond Times-Dispatch along with 20 other dailies, that the company decided to expand the partnership to its TV stations’ websites last month.

Media Gen’s earnings also contained some good news for the local ad space overall.

Across all its digital holdings, including the Richmond, VA.-based company’s Advertising Services businesses, revenues grew 8 percent over last year. Media Gen’s websites alone generated a 16 percent increase in revenues, while local online dollars continued their robust growth, rising 26 percent.

As demonstrated by last week’s Gannett earnings — and an expected improvement expected to be shown in tomorrow’s NYTCo (NYSE: NYT) Q2 earnings — things appear to have been stabilizing at newspapers this year. The deep recession proved that online isn’t immune to the wider problems engulfing the business, including high expenses and debt. The latest figures show how even in an uncertain economy, the web is a bit quicker to snap back.

Journal Comm earnings: The earnings report by Journal Communications (NYSE: JRN) also reflects the improved, yet still fairly weak, state of the newspaper industry. The Milwaukee broadcast owner and publisher of that city’s Journal Sentinel said that publishing declines were arrested somewhat — revenues fell 8.5 percent compared to Q209’s 13 percent drop — while online ads at the newspaper was up 11.5 percent to $2.8 million. More from Journal Communications in this earnings release.