AOL's Q1 performance beats forecast amid weak display ads in US

MUMBAI: AOL‘s net revenue for the first quarter ending 31 March 2012 fell four per cent to $529.4 million, but beat analysts‘ forecast of $526.5 million.

Advertising revenue during the quarter grew five per cent to $330.1 million compared to the year-ago period, while susbcription revenues witnessed a 15 per cent decline posting $182.1 million.

The ad growth showed improved performance in third-party network ads and international display ads. However, revenue from display ads - big splashy ads on Web pages that command high prices - in the United States showed weakness, falling one per cent. Facebook and Yahoo also reported a drop in display ads from the US, where Google is gaining.

AOL‘s display and third party network revenue grew 10 per cent, totalling $240.5 million for the quarter.

Net income rose to $21 million from $4.7 million a year earlier, representing a change of 349 per cent.

The company has increased its adjusted Oibda guidance to $350 million for the current year due to improved revenue & expense trends.

"AOL is a much stronger company today than a year ago and began 2012 by growing advertising revenue, lowering expenses and improving Adjusted OIBDA trends," said AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong. "In 2012 and beyond we are simultaneously focused on the continued successful execution of our strategy and on creating and unlocking value for our shareholders."

AOL has agreed to sell over 800 of its patents and patent applications to Microsoft and grant Microsoft a non-exclusive license to its retained patent portfolio for aggregate proceeds of $1.056 billion in cash.

AOL has acquired several media properties including the Huffington Post and TechCrunch, and has invested heavily into a network of neighbourhood news sites called Patch.

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