Revenues down 26% at media giant

The first year on the job is a challenge for any first-time CEO, but the results posted for 2010 by AOL on Wednesday illustrated the particularly tough initiation topper Tim Armstrong had last year, with double digit declines in most major measurements for the Internet company.

Revenues were down 26% to $2.4 billion, as AOL continued to lose subscribers and ad dollars. The company posted a net loss of $782 million for the year, versus a profit of $249 million the year before.

Ever-bullish, Armstrong said he was proud of what was accomplished at AOL in his first full year as CEO and that company exited the year with “a culture focused on winning.” Among the highlights, Armstrong pointed out that AOL.com users grew in the fourth quarter, with video stream and viewers up 106% and 84% respectively since September, that the company relaunched a new email service in beta and that it expanded its local news service Patch to 775 towns last year. He also said AOL launched original web series on AOL.com, PopEater, AOL Kids, KitchenDaily and Stylelist. He also cited the acquisitions of Pictela and About.me in December.

AOL lost 23% of its subscribers last year. Both ad and subscriber revenues declined by 26% for the year. AOL still derives more than $1 billion in revenues from people who pay for the service that began to be offered for free several years ago. AOL ended the fourth quarter with 3.8 million domestic subscribers.

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