Lee Enterprises' news release buries second quarter earnings number on second page, 17th paragraph

Lee Enterprises – owner of the Quad City Times and Dispatch-Argus – reported its second quarter earnings last week (5/10), but readers had to plow through 16 paragraphs of information to find the financial bottomline buried at end of page two of the news release.

The company lost $2.7 million, 5 cents a share, in the second quarter ended March 31, compared with a gain of $2.2 million, 4 cents per share, for the same period a year ago. When including re-valuation of company stock warrants, earnings totaled $75,000, compared with $1.7 million, 3 cents per share, a year ago.

Lee President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mowbray touted the company's revenue – down 4 percent for the quarter compared with last year – saying the decline was "the best quarterly trend performance in nearly four years."

Total revenues were $122.7 million in the second quarter compared with $127.8 million a year ago. Advertising and marketing service revenue fell 12 percent and subscription revenue was down nearly 2 percent for the period.

The bright spots for Lee continues to be its TownNews operation, which saw revenues increase 24 percent for the period compared with a year ago, and its management agreement with BH Media Group (a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway).

TownNews sells content management system software used to operate online news sites across the country. BH Media Group pays Lee to manage its portfolio of newspapers and online news sites.

Mowbray stated in the news release the company earned $7.8 million from the management deal since July of last year, and it expects to exceed the initial expectations and earn more than $10 million in the first full year of the contract.

CLICK HERE to download the Lee earnings news release.

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