DAVENPORT — Lee Enterprises Inc., the parent company of The Courier, reported improved earnings and gains in digital revenue for the fourth quarter.
On Wednesday, the Davenport-based Lee announced earnings of $3.5 million, or 6 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 24. That compared to earnings of $0.7 million, or 1 cent per share, for the same quarter a year ago. For the fiscal year, earnings totaled $28.6 million, or 50 cents per share, compared to $36.0 million, or 64 cents per share, in the prior year.
In a news release, Lee CEO Kevin Mowbray noted these financial highlights:
Digital retail advertising, which represented 61 percent of total digital advertising in the quarter, grew 7.9 percent in the quarter and 9.4 percent for the fiscal year — driven by advertising from local retailers.
Digital advertising revenue increased 6.1 percent to $23.1 million and represented 29.3 percent of total advertising for the quarter.
Total digital revenue, including digital advertising and digital services, increased 3.8 percent to $26.7 million for the quarter. Total digital revenue increased 6.7 percent to $106.0 million in 2017. Monthly page views of Lee mobile, tablet, desktop and app sites averaged 244.2 million, an increase of 11.6 percent over the prior year quarter.
“For the fiscal year, digital advertising revenue increased 8.0 percent and accounted for 27.8 percent of total advertising revenue, making it our best annual performance in the category since 2014,” Mowbray said in the release.
Total advertising and marketing services revenue decreased 10.2 percent in the quarter, and 10.6 percent for the fiscal year.
Operating revenue fell 5.4 percent in the quarter to $140.2 million. For the fiscal year, operating revenue decreased 7.7 percent to $566.9 million.
He said total revenue was down 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter, and decreased 7.1 percent for the fiscal year.