UPDATE 1-Media General revenue soars on election advertising, Olympics

Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:02am EDT

* Q3 loss from continuing operations $0.81/share vs $0.53/share

* Revenue $93.8 mln vs last year $66 mln

Oct 17 (Reuters) - Broadcaster Media General Inc reported a 42 percent rise in third-quarter revenue, helped by higher advertising income related to the U.S. elections and the summer Olympics, and the company said it expected revenue to rise by between 25 percent and 28 percent in the current quarter.

Revenue in the latest quarter rose to $93.8 million from $66.1 million a year earlier.

"Political revenues totaled nearly $20 million and reflected the strong positions of our television stations in their markets and the presence of six Media General stations in presidential battleground states," Chief Executive Marshall Morton said.

Media General has stations in four of the key battleground states for the presidential election -- Ohio, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina. Its stations in Virginia, Rhode Island and Ohio are also benefiting from hotly contested Senate races.

The U.S. broadcasting industry could net $2.8 billion in local TV revenue during the close-run Nov. 6 presidential elections, Moody's Investors Service said last month.

Media General has already raised its revenue forecast for political advertising on its TV stations due to stronger-than-anticipated demand in key election battlegrounds.

However, the company's loss from continuing operations widened to $18.4 million, or 81 cents per share, in the third quarter, from $11.9 million, or 53 cents per share, a year earlier.

Larger peer Gannett Co Inc reported higher-than-expected revenue and profit earlier this week.

Media General, which has a market value of about $123 million, said on Oct. 8 that it exited its nearly two-centuries-old newspaper business by selling the Tampa Tribune, five months after it sold a bulk of its newspapers to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway for $142 million.

Berkshire Hathaway disclosed a 17 percent stake in the company last month.

Shares of the Richmond, Virginia-based Media General have risen 27 percent since the Berkshire deal on May 17. They closed at $5.30 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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