Media General Loss Widens, Changes(?) Bio Interestingly

Media General posted a net loss for the third quarter of 2011 of $29.8 million, compared with $10.7 million the year prior, the company reported.

Media General owns papers such as the Richmond Times Dispatch, the Tampa Tribune, and the Winston-Salem Journal, and 18 TV stations mostly in the southeast.

Much of the loss was from a $26.6 million writedown, but even without the charge, earnings are falling: excluding impairment charges, the company posted income of $5.7 million compared to $11.5 million a year prior.

Excluding the impairment charge, the media company reduced expenses by 8.4 percent, but saw revenues fall by 11 percent. Last year, the company brought in more than $10 million in just political advertising and “image advertising” from BP after the Deepwater Horizon spill; this year, political advertising revenues are about a tenth of what they were.

On the upside, the company’s local media websites increased revenues by 13 percent. But digital revenues are only about 6 percent of Media General’s intake.

What we found most interesting: the boilerplate at the bottom of the company’s press release has changed recently. We’re not sure, honestly, when this change was made, but the boilerplate description now reads: “Media General is a leading provider of news, information and entertainment across multiple media platforms, serving consumers and advertisers in strong local markets, primarily in the Southeastern United States. The company is transforming itself over time to a digital media model, while continuing to effectively manage its larger, cash producing broadcast television and print platforms.”

We hope they make it. This is the company’s third straight month of terrible losses.