Lee Enterprises became the third newspaper organization to report quarterly results this week, and the earnings picture follows a familiar pattern:
*Total digital revenue grew 25.6 percent in the quarter compared to the same period in 2013.
*However weak print advertising dragged total ad and marketing services revenue down 5.6 percent.
*As a result both revenues and profits were essentially flat compared to the period a year ago.
The company earned $9.7 million net for the quarter on revenues of $176.1 million — a margin of 5.5 percent.
Lee is much more profitable on a cash flow or operating basis. However, like McClatchy, it applies most of the cash earned to paying down debt from a mid-2000′s acquisition. In Lee’s case that is Pulitzer (the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Tucson Citizen), which it bought for $1.5 billion, almost exactly 10 years ago.
Lee did not offer a detailed 2015 forecast, but its press release noted that it began introducing digital paid subscriptions and print + digital bundles at its 46 dailies only in April 2014. Read more
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