AOL made its first quarterly earnings report since spinning away from the Time Warner bubble, turning a small profit that beat Wall Street’s low expectations for the struggling Web company.
Net income was $1.4 million during the fourth quarter, compared to a $1.96 billion loss during the same period in 2008.
AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong said he was “incredibly happy” with the results during a conference call with analysts – this despite axing roughly one-third of AOL’s workforce before the company’s official spin-off from Time Warner on December 9.
"We did everything possible to send signals to you guys that we’re serious about this business," he said.
Meanwhile, AOL’s former bread-and-butter – its subscription revenues — fell 28 percent as its U.S. subscribers declined 27 percent during the fourth quarter.
AOL’s focus now, Armstrong said, is to "create high-quality sites that are actually attractive" to advertisers.
Which will be tricky. The company said global display advertising revenue fell 3 percent during the quarter. In the U.S., however, it managed to grow about 1 percent.
When asked about rumors that AOL might sell some of its new media assets like Bebo or Mapquest, Arthur Minson, AOL’s CFO, said: "We have taken a complete review of the portfolio, and it’s likely that we will trade some assets away to the extent we can get a good deal."
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