Articles about "AOL"


Ad revenue, traffic up at AOL in third quarter

AOL | All Things Digital
Total revenue was flat over 2011, "representing AOL’s best year-over-year revenue performance in 7 years," the company says in an earnings release. Advertising revenue was up at AOL during the third quarter of 2012, rising 7 percent from the same period in 2011 to $340 million. (more...)
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AOL says Patch continues to double its revenue from last year

AOL | All Things D | paidContent | Ad Age
In its second-quarter earnings report, AOL says Patch "grew traffic and engagement at double digit rates year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter" and that revenue more than doubled in the second quarter compared to a year earlier. Patch is on track to make $40 million to $50 million this year, though it has invested more than $200 million so far, according to paidContent's Staci Kramer.

The company reported in May that its first-quarter revenue was double that of last year's, too, and that its traffic was up 55 percent from March 2011 to March 2012.

In an interview with Ad Age's Jason Del Rey, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong described an upcoming shift in Patch's strategy, expanding from its current focus on hyperlocal news to listings and commerce.
As for the listings business, he was asked if Patch was trying to build a competitor to Craigslist. "Craigslist and other companies like that that sell used merchandise haven't really scaled into communities," he said. "They've been very metro-focused. One of the opportunities for Patch...is the ability for us on the commerce side to offer the people the ability to do listings and other things like that locally."
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Starboard loses bid to place members on AOL board

AOL
Starboard, the activist investment group that expressed great skepticism about AOL's content-based strategy, lost its bid to place three members on the company's board at today's annual meeting. AOL's entire present board was re-elected, a company news release says. This may mean some more breathing space for Patch, AOL's local-news initiative, which would have been in the crosshairs of any Starboard-affiliated directors. Starboard prepared an investor presentation for the SEC saying it did not believe Patch was a "viable business," estimating it was losing “approximately $79 million to $133 million per year.” Related: Patch reports record audience as AOL faces proxy fight
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AOL doubles down on Web-to-magazine model with launch of ‘Huffington’ for iPad

New York Times | Mashable | Capital New York
This free preview issue of Huffington magazine will come out Thursday.
The Huffington Post launches an iPad magazine on Thursday called "Huffington," building on a Web-to-magazine publishing model AOL pioneered with Distro.

The weekly publication will offer a slower pace than the website, anchored by a few long-form journalism pieces (4,000-8,000 words), plus commentary, photo essays and data visualizations. It will largely resemble a Newsweek-style print magazine, Lauren Indvik reports. But it also will have digital enhancements like article commenting, sharing, and (gasp!) outbound links. (more...)
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Patch reports record audience as AOL faces proxy fight

Patch | The Wall Street Journal
Patch reports today its audience is up 14 percent over last month, with 11.7 million users in May, and that its revenue is up 17 percent over the same period. This news comes at a propitious time for AOL's ambitious local-news initiative: Thursday's annual AOL shareholder meeting will be a showdown between CEO Tim Armstrong and Starboard Value, the activist investment group that's been calling for the corporation to change its content-focused strategy. “We do not believe Patch is a viable business,” Starboard wrote in an investor presentation it's filed with the SEC. It estimated the local-news initiative is on track to lose "approximately $79 million to $133 million per year." Starboard is hoping to elect three directors to the company's board at the meeting.

Keach Hagey reports in The Wall Street Journal that AOL's been catching some tailwinds that might blunt Starboard's attack. Its stock is up 43 percent following a sale of patents to Microsoft, and much of its equity is held by long-term investors (who might nonetheless get twitchy if a frustrated Starboard sells its 5.3 percent share in the company, Hagey writes).

Previously: AOL reports Q1 earnings with progress for Patch as rumors swirl it’s selling tech sites
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AOL reports Q1 earnings with progress for Patch as rumors swirl it’s selling tech sites

MarketWatch | All Things D | Pando Daily | The Hook | GigaOm
AOL released its first-quarter earnings today, posting a 5 percent rise in advertising revenue and a 14 percent drop in subscribers to its Internet access business compared to the first quarter of last year. Domestic display ad sales declined by 1 percent, which Peter Kafka says will be "fresh meat for AOL critics" like investment firm Starboard Value, which believes content is "a high cost strategy," that requires "substantial in-house editorial and sales personnel." It also says it thinks AOL's Patch has a "structurally flawed business model."

AOL's first-quarter report says "Patch grew traffic and advertisers over 40% year-over-year and revenue over 100% year-over-year."

During a conference call Wednesday morning, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said that "there's a lot of noise about Patch" but it remains "a very long value proposition for us." Patch has already booked revenue for 2012 that exceeds revenue booked in 2011 and will be profitable by the end of 2013, in part by lowering expenses, he said. Expenses have been lowered as town and regional staffs have "smartly organized the editorial process." Armstrong also said Patch is planning a new product. Despite that growth, Kafka notes that "Traffic is down 4 percent to AOL's own properties over the last year." Armstrong said that in the first quarter total unique visitors grew, in particular at Huffington Post, Moviefone, Patch and AOL Autos. Huffington Post, he said, had one billion page views from Jan. 1 through March 31. Accompanying information, though, shows unique visitors at AOL properties are down since the second quarter of 2011, when it reported 113 million uniques; this quarter the company reports 108 million. (more...)
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distro

AOL websites give best stories a second life in weekly iPad magazines

The mobile team at AOL is finding success with a new publishing model that plucks the best longform and enterprise writing from an otherwise fast-paced website and republishes it in a design-rich tablet magazine.

Distro is a free weekly tablet
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AOL expands Huffington Post local sites, slows Patch growth

Adweek | Forbes
The Huffington Post continues to roll out local news websites for major U.S. cities, with HuffPost Detroit and HuffPost Miami coming in November, Adweek reports. HuffPost currently has sites for New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Adweek's Dylan Byers says this renews concerns about what the future holds for Patch, which was supposed to be parent company AOL's star local news project.

Meanwhile, Forbes' Jeff Bercovici reports that Patch is no longer guaranteeing that it will be in 1,000 towns by the end of the year. Growth has slowed in the past six months, with a current network of 864 sites. “Our plan is to continue to add sites where it makes sense,” Patch President Warren Webster told Forbes. “We’re not as focused on 1,000 as a number as we are on smart, sensible investments in communities -- but we expect to be around 1,000 sites by year’s end. ... And regardless we expect to continue to expand Patch into 2012.”

Earlier: AOL says it is "very committed" to Patch investment | Why don't Patch editors start their own sites?
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Patch editor has been told to start drumming up ad sales leads

Business Insider | WSJ.com
A Patch editor from the East Coast tells Nicholas Carlson that coming up with advertising possibilities "is a bridge too far by any measure" and "requiring journalists -- already run ragged by their normal duties -- to do this is so far beyond the pale it actually makes my stomach hurt." The editor says his job requires that he....
Post seven pieces of content a day, with a minimum of four; Edit all copy and photographs; Shoot and edit video for stories and as stand-alone content; Main reporter and writer (with no editor or copyeditor); Main photographer; Contract freelancers and assign stories; Maintain budget (couple grand, more or less) per month; Pay freelancers twice a week; Recruit and edit stable of bloggers; Track all users and comments on site; Acquire guest editor for vacation days (and pay them from my own budget at $100 a day); Post to Facebook and Twitter four to six times a day (twice a day on weekends)
The source says lead editors are responsible for organizing marketing events, which involves carrying a large Patch banner and other items, such as chairs, barrels for bottled water giveaways, iced tea in hot weather, or coffee urns in cold weather. In some markets, the editor has to take a "prize wheel" to events. Dow Jones reported earlier this week that AOL chief Tim Armstrong wants at least some Patch sites to turn a profit this year. If Patch veers "way off track," he said, AOL could explore a sale. || In January, Nicholas Carlson wrote that "the real problem with Patch is that no one needs it." He followed that up in March with some thoughts on what Patch has to do to succeed "and prove us wrong." || Read Patch stories from the Romenesko+ archives.
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Analysts: AOL may be worth more broken into pieces and sold

New York Times | Bloomberg.com | DigiDay Daily
AOL's Internet access business, in particular, would be good to unload, say analysts. They also point out that closing Patch, which has reporters in 850 towns, would free $160 million and lift AOL into profitability. (AOL lost $11.8 million in the second quarter.) AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong argues that the kind of content that Patch sites post is the Internet’s future growth engine. Analyst Sameet Sinha tells Verne Kopytoff: “Frankly, AOL hasn’t delivered on its [turnaround] promise yet. It’s just been a series of stumbles.” || DigiDay: AOL's chief ad man talks tough, and says Patch "is another example of AOL leading in the marketplace." || Bloomberg.com: For a private equity firm that’s looking for the cheapest way to get online, AOL is trading for 57 cents on the dollar.
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