AOL Posts Strong Q3 Revenues But Profits Take A Hit From Patch Charges

Optimists and pessimists will find evidence to justify their views of AOL in this morning’s earnings release. Net income attributable to AOL at $2.0M, is down 90.4% vs the period last year as the company took a $25.0M impairment charge on its beleaguered Patch local news web operation plus a $19M restructuring charge. But revenues at $561.3M are up 5.6%. The top line soundly beat expectations for $548.8M. Earnings per share were reported at 2 cents, but likely beat the Street’s prediction of 35 cents once you factor out one-time charges which the company says amounted to 53 cents. While there’s a lot of noise in the report, some of the fundamental numbers look OK. Global ad sales were up 13.5% to $386.0M helped by growth in sales from video. Display ads were +5% due to price increases while search was +3% which the company attributes to an increase in revenue per search. Per usual, AOL’s old Internet subscription service weighed down the results with revenues -7.5% to $204,5M as the number of domestic subscribers fell 13.3% to 2.5M. But there’s a silver lining here, too — last year subscription revenue fell 10%, which suggests the rate of decline is slowing. CEO Tim Armstrong says the numbers “highlight the strength of AOL’s strategy and the consistent execution of our team in delivering great consumer experiences and successful customer results.”

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