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BLOOMINGTON — Digital revenue in both subscriptions and online advertising continues to grow for Lee Enterprises Inc. The parent company of the Herald & Review in third-quarter numbers released Thursday, said total revenue was down 4% at $127.3 million.

Operating expenses were down 4.7% for the quarter.

Total digital revenue was up, along with revenue from subsidiary TownNews and a partnership with BH Media Group that has exceeded expectations, said President and CEO Kevin Mowbray. 

"Total revenue decreased 4% in the third quarter, matching the second quarter trend, as we continue the company's digital transformation," Mowbray said in a statement. "Total digital revenue, including digital advertising and digital services, was $30.5 million for the quarter, up 5.3% on a same-property basis compared with a year ago."

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Mowbray said digital advertising revenue increased for the quarter, representing more than a third of total advertising revenue. Digital retail advertising represented about two-thirds of total digital advertising.

Monthly visits to Lee mobile, tablet, desktop and app sites averaged 74.1 million. Page views per visit, a metric used to monitor engagement, also increased, as did the number of digital-only subscribers.

"We continue to transform our business models and reduce our legacy cost structure," said Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Tim Millage. "Operating expenses were down 4.7% in the June quarter with cash costs down 5.2%. On a same-property basis, cash costs were down 7.6%. We expect cash costs on a same property basis to be down 4.75 to 5.5% in fiscal year 2019."

Lee, based in Davenport, Iowa, serves 50 markets in 20 states through its print, digital and specialty publications.

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