Lee Enterprises, Incorporated (NYSE:LEE) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Preliminary Transcript

Dec 12, 2019 • 10:00 am ET


Lee Enterprises, Incorporated (NYSE:LEE) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Preliminary Transcript


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Good day everyone, welcome to the Lee Enterprises 2019 Fourth Quarter Webcast and Conference Call. The call is being recorded and will be available for replay beginning later this morning at lee.net. (Operator Instructions) A link to the live webcast can be found at www.lee.net.

Now I will turn the call over to your host, Jamie Seratt, Corporate Controller. Please go ahead.

Jamie Seratt

Good morning, thank you for joining us. Speaking on this morning's call will be Kevin Mowbray, President and Chief Executive Officer and Tim Millage, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Also with us on today's call and available for questions are Nathan Bekke, Vice President, Consumer Sales and Marketing and James Green, Vice President, Digital.

Earlier today, we issued a news release with preliminary results for our fourth fiscal quarter of 2019. It is available at lee.net as well as at major financial websites.

One housekeeping item to start. Our fourth quarter last year included an extra week of operations. Additionally, we acquired certain properties in fiscal year 2019 and dispose of one property in 2018. These transactions are affecting the quarter and year-to-date with trends. We discuss certain revenue and operating expense trends on a same-property basis, which excludes the impact of these transactions.

As a reminder, this morning's discussion will include forward-looking statements that are based on our current expectations. These statements are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially such factors are described in this morning's news release and also in our SEC filings. During the call, we make reference to certain non-GAAP financial measures, which are defined in our news release reconciliations to the relevant GAAP measures are included in tables accompanying the release.

And now to open the discussion is our President and Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Mowbray.

Kevin Mowbray

Thank you, Jamie, good morning, and thank you, all, for joining the call. Overall, we're pleased with continued digital transformation in 2019. For the 10th consecutive year, we grew digital revenue. Total digital revenue which includes advertising, subscription and digital services was $144.6 million in the fiscal year, an increase of 4.3% on a same-property basis

in the fourth quarter, digital advertising now represents 40% of total advertising. Much of our success in digital advertising, our local control retail accounts they represent more than 50% of our advertising revenue. These local accounts depend on our huge audience reach. According to Lee, Lee (ph) layer data we typically reached 75% to 80% of the adults in our local markets between our print, digital and mobile platforms. This advantage makes us much less reliant on national retail advertising. Revenue from this category has outperformed our overall advertising trends. Lee's Amplified Digital Agency our centralized approach to selling custom digital advertising and marketing campaigns, continue to outpace our expectations and consistently outperformed industry standards of performance. With more than 160 Digital experts on staff, Amplified Digital finished 2019 with over 600 clients in 1300 active campaigns.

Our agency approach is