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By Kimberley Donoghue
PBN Web Editor
RICHMOND, Va. - Media General Inc., the parent company of WJAR-TV NBC 10, widened its loss to $74.3 million in 2011 from a loss of $22.6 million in 2010. The loss per share totaled $3.31, more than tripling the 2010 loss per share of $1.01.
Revenue declined to $616.2 million for the year ended Dec. 25, compared with $678.1 million in 2010.
The Rhode Island/Ohio market saw a similar trend, with operating profit and revenue declining for the year. Operating profit was $16.8 million in 2011, down from $20.8 million a year earlier. Revenue was $55 million for the year, down from $62.3 million.
Media General also reported fourth-quarter results, observing a loss of $3.3 million in the fourth quarter or 15 cents per share.
The company reported an impairment charge in the quarter of $6 million on its website DealTaker.com, which “suffered the adverse effects of a significant change in the way Internet search results are delivered by Google.”
Media General fourth-quarter revenue declined 11.7 percent from a year earlier to $167.7, due to an expected decrease in political advertising revenue in the off-election year – down $20.4 million from 2010. Print and advertising services revenue also declined, it said.
The Rhode Island/Ohio market had a profit of $7.4 million in the fourth quarter, down $2 million from a year earlier – which Media General attributed to a $7.2 drop in political advertising revenue.
On the other hand, local revenue increased 20.6 percent; digital media revenue increased 4.9 percent; national advertising grew 7.1 percent as expenses dropped 23 percent, it said.
“Our media websites generated $8.3 million in revenues, the second highest ever for Media General, driven by 15 percent growth in local online revenues, which broke the $5 million mark for the first time,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and CEO of the company. He said that the company’s mobile offerings contain its fastest-growing advertising category, with mobile page views up more than 80 percent.
He also noted that they have booked “strong advance sales for the Super Bowl on our eight NBC stations” and that those stations should also see a boost from the Summer Olympics.