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Lee Enterprises, Incorporated Message Board

  • newspaper_advertising newspaper_advertising Mar 17, 2013 10:51 AM Flag

    What's up with Lee from an operations standpoint?

    I just read 5 months worth of posts and saw little of what lee's strategy is short term and long term. I saw a lot of debt talk, Warren buffet, debt repayment, yada yada yada.

    Does anyone from Lee actually come here and share anything happening in the company or their market? How is Lee doing with smart phone and tablet integration? Running Google programs for customers? Building websites? Doing online search, display and RTM programs?

    What is the company doing to re-capture the lost classified and preprint revenue from the past 5 years?

    I don't have a position in this company but have been amazed at how little discussion of the company's operations appear on this board. Anyone wanna share any strategies in their local market?

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    • How is Lee doing with smart phone and tablet integration?
      --They are doing very well. Lee went "mobile first" in early 2011. All news is collected with a mind to be placed on a mobile platform first. 20% of all of their pageviews come from mobile and pageviews are growing at 10% per month. This will be interesting to follow. Mobile ads pay even less than desktop ads, and even those pay a fraction of what print does. However, mobile boxes out the ad syndicates, meaning that pricing power may improve someday. Also, by moving to paywalls but leaving the mobile sites largely free, Lee has pushed people into mobile. (which was gonna happen anyways).

      Running Google programs for customers?
      --Yes. This is far better than the previous yahoo consortium, which offers the customer far less tracking ability.

      Building websites?
      --Yes. Lee offers classes in nearly all of its local areas on digital advertising, and sets up pages and independent websites for customers. See Lee's LeeLocal services website. This is one thing that Lee definitely does VERY well. Lee's TownNews subsidiary brings in about 30M per year but runs the websites for about 1600 small newspapers and information websites around the country. Btw...this is a very good asset that Lee has tucked away. Lee manages much of the advertising done through TownNews papers. Over 100 million people per month log onto a TownNews site. In the US, only Facebook, Google and Youtube are larger than the TownNews syndicate. If Lee is ever liquidated, this will go for top dollar.

      Doing online search, display and RTM programs?
      --Yes. See above.

      What is the company doing to re-capture the lost classified and preprint revenue from the past 5 years?
      --Price competition. It is now cheaper to post a real estate ad in St. Louis in the Post Dispatch than it is to do so on Craigslist. Classifieds are declining overall but the digital picture is brightening.

      • 2 Replies to poboyz1973
      • how can a company get to have almost 1 billion in debt?

      • Poboyz I went online android phone and iphone and saw stl Post dispatch did ok on main news on mobile. Sports was lousy and saw a few auto ads. Like their mobile presentation for the main news except for annoying pop ups which are car ads. Seems like they are building and serving left to right but not vertically which still means a trwemendous amounbt of shape shifting on mobile phones.

        I was wondering if anyone had any knowledge of how the Google program is going? What about Real Time Marketing efforts, dayparting, in store data results and other things? How many websites does the company build per day/week/month and do they build them for desktop and mobile?
        Not really looking for responses from anyone except employees actually doing these things. This is a huge debt issue and I still wonder how well poised this company is to keep moving with 21st century marketing ideas. It does seem like Lee is light years ahead of McClatchy in many online areas, which is no surprise since MMN"s last CEO thought the internet was overblown and a fad.

        Any insiders want to share any success stories here?

    • Let me take a shot at some of these questions. WB holds first and second tier debt. He possibly owns no shares at this point.

      Lee does not share things here. 97% of the time Lee is quiet as a tomb. Earnings and 13F days are usually notable on volume. Lately we have not got slammed on either which is unusual (but nice). One day a month volume exceeds 100% on the average.

      You can download the apps from iTunes (apps), I have the Rapid City Journal News App which is a very nice app. The Lincoln Journal Star has piloted a daily deals program that I believe is moving into other markets that has had good reception. Google is going to be an advertising partner, They will feed ads to Lee sites as a secondary to local priorities.

      Circulation is up roughly 4%

      Classifieds are down but that is everywhere. I don't know about preprint revenue. The company, for many of us is a buy because they are generating free cash and paying there debt at an accelerated rate. Other than that there is nothing to do except wait and try to entertain yourself.

      When they get their debt down to $700 million things will heat up again. At this point in time it is possible that we are at or below $900 million but this is speculative until the next earnings report.

      Sentiment: Strong Buy

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