Much like USA Today parent company Gannett (GCI), which announced rising profit but falling revenue last Friday, midwestern newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises (LEE) today reported an adjusted fiscal third-quarter profit of $11.6 million, compared with $5.3 million in the year-ago quarter.
Including one-time items — such as a $39.7 million goodwill impairment charge in the third quarter of 2009 and debt-financing and other costs from both 2009 and 2010 — Lee recorded third-quarter 2010 net income of $10 million, up from a loss of $24.5 million a year ago.
“Our positive momentum continues in the face of a still-unsettled economy,” said CEO Mary Junck in a statement. “Although total revenue remains negative year over year, the rate of decline has slowed by nearly half as our digital sales initiatives gain steam rapidly.”
Operating revenue fell 3.6% year over year to $196.4 million. Print and digital ad revenue fell 4.9% to $140.8 million. Retail advertisement slipped 4.4%, national ads dropped 11% and classifieds fell 4.7%. Employment ad revenue rose 3.5%.
Taken by itself, digital ad revenue climbed 25% to $12.9 million. Digital ads at Lee now account for 9.2% of all ad revenue.
Shares of Lee Enterprises were lately down 5.3% at $2.52 in late morning trading.