News Column

Lee Enterprises quarterly earnings improve

May 8, 2014

By Chelsea Keenan, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

May 08--Davenport-based Lee Enterprises reported earnings of $1.48 million, or 3 cents per share, for its second fiscal quarter ending on March 30.

That was an improvement for the media company, which has operations in 50 markets, including five in Iowa. Lee Enterprises reported a loss of $5.9 million, or 12 cents per share, a year ago.

Operating revenue for the quarter was $154.1 million, a decrease of 4.1 percent compared with a year ago.

Combined print and digital advertising and marketing services revenue fell 4.3 percent to $102.7 million. This was an improvement from recent trends, the company said, with retail advertising down 2.4 percent, classified down 10.7 percent and national up 9.9 percent.

Digital revenue, including advertising, marketing services, subscriptions and digital businesses, was $20.5 million in the quarter.

Digital revenue was up 13.1 percent compared with the quarter a year ago, while mobile advertising revenue also increased, rising 9.8 percent to $1.5 million.

Lee Enterprises said its digital audiences grew, with mobile, tablet and desktop page views increasing 16.2 percent to 235.9 million, and monthly unique visitors increasing 30.8 percent to 30.3 million for the month of March 2014.

Sunday circulation increased 9.9 percent while daily circulation fell 5 percent.

"With the refinancing announcement a few weeks ago, pushing our maturities out to 2022, we can continue to focus on driving operating results through our many revenue and business transformation initiatives," said Mary Junck, chairman and CEO, in a news release. "We are optimistic about the results and will continue the roll out of full-access subscriptions to more than half of our markets by the end of the year."

Lee Enterprises has 46 daily newspapers and a joint interest in four others. Lee's newspapers have circulation of 1.2 million daily and 1.5 million Sunday.

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Source: Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA)

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