October 20, 2010 / 12:12 PM / in 7 years

UPDATE 2-Media General newspaper declines accelerate

* Q3 loss $0.48 vs. loss $2.80 a year ago

* Q3 total revenue up 3 percent

* Publishing revenue down 8 pct

* Q4 total revenue forecast to rise 6-8 pct

* Shares down 49 cents to $7.49

(Adds analyst comment, share price)

NEW YORK, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Media General Inc MEG.N followed its newspaper peers with a decline in third quarter publishing revenue, providing more evidence that a newspaper recovery is nowhere to be found.

Investors pushed Media General shares down almost 6 percent in morning trade on Wednesday brushing aside a rise in total revenue.

Publishing revenue at the company fell almost 8 percent on drop in retail advertising sales in the third quarter year-over-year erasing any modest improvements made in the second quarter, when revenue fell 7 percent.

“Clearly the recovery is stalling out,” said Edward Atorino, an analyst with the Benchmark Co. “The third quarter was disappointing across the board.”

    Indeed, Gannett Co (GCI.N), the New York Times Co (NYT.N) and McClatchy MNI.N all reported third quarter declines in newspaper revenue.

    Media General, which also owns broadcast stations, said that total revenue increased about 3 percent to $163.2 million due mainly to strong political TV advertising.

    Broadcast revenue advanced 18 percent.

    For the fourth quarter, Media General expects total revenue to rise between 6 and 8 percent.

    The publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported a loss of $10.7 million, or 48 cents per share, compared with a loss of $62.5 million, or $2.80 per share, in the same quarter last year.

    Few analysts offered estimates on the company, making an average expectation difficult to project.

    Media General shares were down 6 percent to $7.49 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Jennifer Saba, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Derek Caney)

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