Media General reports 63% jump in retransmission revenue

TV station group owner Media General (NYSE:MEG) on Wednesday reported a 63 percent increase in revenue from retransmission-consent deals during the first quarter, thanks to deals it has struck with Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and other cable MSOs.

The Richmond, Va.-based company, which owns stations that carry programming from NBC, CBS, ABC and other networks in Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Rhode Island, reported it generated $7.8 million in retransmission-consent fees.

By comparison, the company collected $5.3 million from cable and satellite TV providers during the first quarter of 2011. Media General attributed the gain to rate increases in contract renewals.

Media General had threatened to pull its stations in Rhode Island and Florida from Verizon in December, but reached an agreement before its contract expired that allowed the telco to distribute its stations to Verizon's FiOS TV subscribers.

Retransmission-consent revenue was one of the strongest areas of growth for Media General, which reported $150 million in total revenue during the first quarter, up 0.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

The company, which has cut costs at several newspapers that it owns, reported a net loss of $34 million, or $1.53 per share during the first quarter.

Media General shares rose 32 cents, to $3.85, shortly after the company's earnings announcement. Media General shares have ranged between $1.14 and $6.84 during the past 12 months.

For more:
- see the earnings release

Related articles:
News Corp. reports 100% increase in retransmission-consent fees
Nexstar reports 35% gain in retransmission revenue in Q4
Cable operators team with Dish Network to press FCC on retransmission reform
LIN TV banks on retransmission consent fees to survive
Kagan: Retransmission consent fees could hit $3B by 2015
LIN TV: Hikes in retransmission fees will be smaller 'when market has fully adjusted'