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AOL Takes Its Lumps in the Last Quarter

AOL logoWith all of news of the new mega Micro-bing-ahoo uber, super, partner / merger (insert your pet name here) in the past 24 hours, AOL tried to sneak one by us. Since are never ones to let someone try to skip past us with news it’s only fair that AOL get its moment in the spotlight. Trouble is this spotlight is one that most like to avoid.The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the soon to be cast away spin off of Time Warner had a rough go in the 2nd quarter

Advertising sales at AOL fell 21 percent last quarter, and parent company Time Warner Inc. said it is still on track to spin off the AOL unit this year.

AOL’s total revenue fell 24 percent to $804 million last quarter, led by lower display advertising, paid search advertising and sales of advertising on third-party sites. Baltimore-based Advertising.com is a key cog in AOL’s advertising division, dubbed Platform A.

AOL is trying to weather a difficult stretch as Google sold its 5% stake back to Time Warner for less than 30% of the original investment and the revelation that Google accounts for about 1/3 of AOL’s ad revenue as it is!

Add to that the shrinking subscriber revenue numbers (-27%) and you have to wonder what the future of AOL really is. One thing is for sure, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes wants everyone to know that plan to spin off the AOL unit at the end of this year is still a go.

“Separating AOL will benefit both companies, enabling Time Warner to concentrate fully on our core content business and improving AOL’s operational and strategic flexibility.”

A loose literal translation in layman’s terms of that statement may read something like “We need to distance ourselves from this deal as quickly as possible and we are going to do it come hell or high water”. Maybe if there is actually high water, Time Warner could give Yahoo’s Carol Bartz a call and ask if she has any extra boats.