Media General reported strong revenue from automotive, political and Olympics advertising in the third quarter of 2012, but interest on the company’s debt and losses from what remained of its newspaper division drove it to a loss of $30.3 million.
Operating income was up nearly $18 million over the third quarter of 2011. Advertising revenue was up 20 percent at the company’s TV station websites, where local advertising in particular was up 28 percent. Across its properties, local advertising revenue was up 15.6 percent, to $47 million. Station costs were up, in part because of higher sales commissions, the earnings report says. The company has reduced expenses slightly, partly due to corporate layoffs announced in July, and expects more revenue growth in the fourth quarter.
Media General sold most of its newspapers to Berkshire Hathaway in May and sold The Tampa Tribune, its last remaining newspaper, to a private equity firm earlier this month. Last week, Richard Danielson and Jeff Harrington of the Tampa Bay Times reported Media General sold the Tribune for less than the estimated value of its land and building. Poynter owns the Tampa Bay Times, which competes with the Tribune.