AOL’s Q4: When Failure = Success



And not in the positive “I now know 999 ways not to make a light bulb” way.

AOL’s Q4—their first earnings report since spinning off from Time Warner—numbers have all kinds of red ink and negative signs in front of them: display advertising revenue down 3% total YOY, international display down 22%, search and contextual down 19%, total ad revenue down 8%, subscription revenue down 28%, Other revenue down 5%. The only gain YOY was in US display advertising: a whopping 1%. And despite total revenues being down 17%, AOL still handily beat Wall Street expectations.

Yes, failure = success when people expect almost nothing of you. Says All Things D:


After factoring out one-time charges, AOL posted earnings of 71 cents per share on revenues of $801 million. Wall Street expected earnings of either 62 cents or 66 cents per share, depending on who you ask, on revenue of around $766 million.

And that earnings per share is way higher than, say, Yahoo (22¢).

Of course, the reason the expectations are so low is that none of this is a surprise. Time Warner ditched AOL for just this reason. (Boggles the mind to think that AOL originally bought TW. Crazy, isn’t it?) AOL has long been on the decline. Although CEO (and former Googler) Tim Armstrong is striving to retool sales in both personnel and strategy, their long slog might just mire them deeper in the red ink.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Time Warner got his expected raise.

What do you think? Can AOL survive?

  • http://www.crearecommunications.co.uk Luci

    I guess from the general point of view, AOL’s pretty much hit rock bottom so the only place it can go is up… or out all together! I think AOL’s results in the next quarter will give a better idea of whether or not they’ll last, they’ll have had longer out ‘on their own’ so to speak and either sink or swim
    .-= Luci´s last blog ..Page Load Times – How much do they really affect SEO? =-.

  • http://www.bigpictureweb.com Josh Braaten

    Trying to continue to struggle with market share in their current model seems absurd to me. Why not do something bold like when Adobe bought Omniture? Otherwise, they’re as good as doomed in my mind.
    .-= Josh Braaten´s last blog ..Best Free Online Marketing Tips for Those Who Ask =-.