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Tampa Tribune owner Media General announces third quarter net loss of $62.5-million



Mediageneralvig As the newspaper industry braces for more bad news when circulation figures are released later this month, Tampa Tribune owner Media General has announced a third quarter net loss of $62.5-million.

Company executives attributed the loss to a decline in advertising revenues from last year, when political buys and the Olympics boosted the market. Also, the company took a huge write-down in the value of its assets to the tune of $84-million.

And Media General isn't alone. On Monday, Gannett Co, publisher of USA Today and the nation's largest newspaper chain, announced a 53-percent drop in net income in the third quarter, thanks to a 28-percent year-ago drop in advertising revenue overall and a 37-percent ad revenue drop at flagship USA Today.

Still, company CEO Marshall Morton said the company's Tampa operations -- which include the Tribune, WFLA-Ch. 8, and several smaller newspapers -- had stabilized as advertiser spending firms up.

The company's release outlined the extent of cost-cutting undertaken: "Media General had 770 fewer full-time equivalent employees this year than last year. By the end of 2009, a furlough program will have included a total of 15 days per employee, including four days in the fourth quarter. Newsprint consumption was down 36 percent, from both lower volumes and conservation efforts, such as our Web-width reductions, and newsprint prices dropped 27 percent from a year ago." 

In Florida, the release also detailed numbers: "Florida segment profits were $524,000, a 56.5 percent decrease from the prior year. Total revenues were $36.5 million, down 22.7 percent, mostly the result of recession-induced soft advertising. In addition, WFLA had $2 million in Political revenues and $2.7 million in Olympics revenues last year. Expenses decreased 22 percent from last year."

To read the full release, click here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:02pm]


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