Lee Enterprises digital revenue reaches 51 percent, but company loses $269,000 in third quarter

For the first time, online revenue during the third quarter exceeded print income at Lee Enterprises, Inc. – owner of the Quad City Times and Daily Dispatch/Argus newspapers and online news sites.

Despite the continued growth of online revenue, the company lost 5 cents per share ($269,000) for the three-month period ended June 26. A year earlier, Lee reported third quarter earnings of 56 cents per share, or $3.23 million.

"In the third quarter, total operating revenue was $195 million, down less than 1 percent to the prior year, as the growth of our digital revenue stream almost offset the decline in our print revenue stream," Tim Millage, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Lee, told financial analysts during a conference call.

"Total print revenue was $134 million in the quarter, a 10 percent decline compared to the same quarter a year ago, due to continued secular declines and supply chain constraints affecting national advertising," Millage said in the conference call.

Millage and Lee President and CEO Kevin Mowbray stated in the analyst call the company plans to "reduce the cash cost on an annual basis by $45 million" and will be "focused on maximizing our efficiencies and reducing the cost structure of our legacy print business. . ."

The Lee executives also reported the company has generated $25 million from the sale of assets over the past two years and has closed on the sale of $14 million of real estate during the the first nine months of this year.

CLICK HERE for the company's third quarter financials and news release.

CLICK HERE for the company's full 10Q quarterly financial report.

Lee is headquartered in Davenport and has media and marketing operation in 77 markets nationally.

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