Monday, February 2, 2009

A Sign Close To Home

Because The Roanoke Times is privately owned, it is difficult to determine how it is doing financially, but the competition is slumping badly. The Times is owned by Landmark Communications in Tidewater and its primary competition is Media General, the largest publisher in Virginia. Media General's financial report last week was dismal.

It reported a loss of $85.5 million in the fourth quarter on an impairment charge and a marked drop in publishing profits, blamed on declining ad sales. Media General publishes USA Today, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Winston-Salem Journal and Tampa Tribune among 21 daily and community newspapers, 275 weeklies and other publications and 19 network-affiliated TV stations. It also owns--in our area--the Lynchburg News & Advance and WSLS TV in Roanoke

Its shares dropped 68 cents (24 percent) to close at $2.15, according to Yahoo Financial. Media General says its publishing profit fell 69 percent to $8.5 million. Publishing revenue dropped and broadcast revenue was off 24 percent. In the midst of all this gloom, interactive media revenue grew 17 percent. Maybe we really can see the future.

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