Des Moines, Iowa-based magazine publisher Meredith Corp. Thursday reported $18.3 million in net earnings for its fiscal first quarter 2010, slipping less than two percent from $18.6 million during the same period last year. Revenues during the period declined less than nine percent to $332.4 million compared to the same period in fiscal 2009.

Meanwhile, Meredith’s national media group reported $39 million in operating profit, a 14 percent increase of the prior-year period, the company said. Revenues dropped, though, from $294 million during the fiscal 2009 first quarter compared to $272 this year. The group’s operating expenses declined 10 percent to $233 million, including a 9 percent drop in paper prices.

According to Meredith president and CEO Stephen M. Lacy, national media advertising revenues are “trending in the right direction, and we continue to outperform our major peers and gain share.” Meredith said its share of overall magazine industry ad revenues increased to 12.2 percent during the fiscal first quarter, compared to 8.7 percent this time last year.

Eleven of Meredith’s 14 PIB-tracked titles increased share of advertising revenues during the third quarter, the company said

Meredith’s local media group reported $2 million in operating profit during the quarter versus $11 million during the same period last year. The company attributed the decline, in part, to generating $5 million less in political advertising and continued weakness in automotive ads.

So far in its fiscal second quarter, Meredith said national media group ad revenues are currently down in the mid single-digit range.