Soaring political advertising sparked another strong showing for Media General.
Third-quarter revenues from the Richmond, Va.-based broadcast and digital company grew $28 million to nearly $94 million this year, compared with $66 million last year. Local advertising sales grew 16% to $47 million; and national spot advertising sales up 19% to nearly $25 million.
Political revenues grabbed nearly $20 million -- especially gaining for the six Media General stations in political swing states. Olympic advertising also did well -- picking up $15 million in revenues for its eight NBC stations.
Taking out key political advertising revenue, the company said advertising sales grew almost 17%, due to Olympics advertising and several growing ad categories for its other programming. Those included auto, financial, grocery, travel, telecommunications and medical. Categories that declined included restaurants and department stores.
Cable and satellite retransmission fees rose nearly 80% to $9.4 million; TV station Web sites grew almost 21% to $2.6 million in advertising revenues.
While the company gained 42% in operating income to $22 million compared with $4.8 million in the third quarter of 2011, Media General still registered net losses.
Its net loss in the third quarter was $30 million as a result of debt extinguishment costs and discontinued operations. This was about the same as a year ago, where its net loss was about $30 million, including a newspaper impairment write-down from discontinued operations.