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DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Quad-City based Lee Enterprises Inc., a major provider of local news, information and advertising in 50 markets, on Wednesday reported earnings of $3.5 million for its fourth fiscal quarter ended Sept. 24, or 6 cents per diluted common share.

(Lee is the the parent company of The Times and Democrat.)

For the same quarter a year ago, earnings totaled $0.7 million, or 1 cent per diluted common share. For the fiscal year, earnings totaled $28.6 million, or 50 cents per diluted common share, compared to $36.0 million, or 64 cents per diluted common share, in the prior year.

"Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter totaled $36.7 million and was down 1.1 percent from the prior year. This is an improving trend and the best quarterly Adjusted EBITDA performance, as compared to the prior year quarter, in two years," Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mowbray said.

"We also maintained our industry-leading margins in both the fourth quarter and fiscal 2017. For the fiscal year, Adjusted EBITDA was $144.6 million, a decline of 6.0 percent from the prior year."

"Digital advertising revenue increased 6.1 percent and represented 29.3 percent of total advertising revenue for the quarter," Mowbray said. "For the fiscal year, digital advertising revenue increased 8 percent and accounted for 27.8 percent of total advertising revenue, making it our best annual performance in the category since 2014.

"Our pricing and premium content strategies drove a subscription revenue increase of 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter," Mowbray said. "The past two quarters of positive subscription revenue resulted in the fiscal year subscription revenue being down only 0.6 percent.

"A soft print advertising environment contributed to overall revenue declines," Mowbray said. "Fourth quarter total revenue was down 6.8 percent, a performance very close to last quarter and better than the trend from earlier in the year. Total revenue was down 7.1 percent in fiscal year 2017."

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