Lee Enterprises on Feb. 7 reported earnings of $10.7 million for its first fiscal quarter ending Dec. 30, 2018, or 18 cents per diluted common share. For the same quarter a year ago, earnings totaled $35.3 million, or 63 cents per diluted common share. Adjusted for the impact of the 2017 Tax Act as well as the warrants, adjusted earnings per diluted common share totaled 18 cents in the current year quarter compared to 19 cents in the prior year quarter.
"We are off to a great start in fiscal year 2019 with strong performance in many key areas," said Kevin Mowbray, Lee CEO and president. "Total digital revenue increased 10.7 percent in the first quarter due to an 8.0 percent growth in digital advertising revenue and a 27.7 percent growth in digital services revenue," Mowbray said. "Revenue in our local controllable segment also performed well. Revenue from local retail accounts was down 2.6 percent in the first quarter, the best quarterly trend in several years."
"On a stand-alone basis, revenue at TownNews increased 19.9 percent due to increased market share, including an increase in broadcast customers as well as gains in video revenue from 2018 technology acquisitions," said Mowbray.
Monthly visits to Lee mobile, tablet, desktop and app sites averaged 75.4 million, and page views per visit increased 12.9 percent, Mowbray said. Subscription revenue decreased 4.1 percent in the quarter, and digital-only subscribers increased 55.9 percent, he said. Total revenue decreased 5.3 percent for the quarter, according to Mowbray.