You probably wouldn't want to own a newspaper in Massachusetts. Or Florida, for that matter. That was the implication given by January sales data from two of the nation's major media companies on Tuesday.
The company, which publishes the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Winston-Salem Journal, and the Tampa Tribune, along with 22 daily community newspapers and 150 weekly newspapers and other publications, saw its total newspaper advertising revenues fall by $3.3 million, or 7.5%. Of its three metropolitan dailies, the Tampa Tribune was the hardest hit, recording a 16% drop in year-over-year revenues in January. Revenues for the Richmond and Winston-Salem papers declined 1.1% and 5.5%, respectively.
Revenues from the company's broadcast division increased 30.2%, including the new stations. Same-store revenues, excluding the four new stations, were up 1.2%. Media General's interactive media unit posted a 32.7% increase in revenues, but from a January 2006 base of just $2.1 million.
Up the road at New York Times
Media General and Times are in a league with such other newspaper publishers as Gannett
And so Fools would probably be wise to maintain whatever newspaper-reading habits they've formed but forgo the temptation to own publishing stocks. With rare exceptions, it's difficult to see how money can be made through investments in the publishers.
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