The revenue growth is modest, but it’s the second time in eight years that AOL has been able to boast that the gains from ad sales have outweighed the decline in its Internet subscription business. The company just reported Q1 net income of $25.6M, +21.9% vs the quarter last year, on revenues of $538.3M, +1.7%. Revenues beat analyst forecasts for $537.2M. But diluted earnings at 32 cents a share missed their target for 35 cents. AOL says that a 9% growth in global ad sales to $359.2M included an 8% increase in global display revenues — with domestic sales +6% — as well as a 10% pick up in third party network revenue and 9% rise in search revenue. The Brand Group — with online destinations including The Huffington Post, Patch and TechCrunch — saw a 14% pick up in sales to $189.6M while its cash flow loss was cut to $4.9M from $16.8M. About 112M different people visited AOL properties each month, up 3% from last year’s Q1 but -1% from the end of the year. The ad gains were somewhat offset by the Internet access business which ended the quarter with 2.7M domestic subscribers, -4.7% from the end of 2012. Revenues for that business fell 10% to $211.5M while adjusted cash flow fell 8% to $146.4M. Finally, the AOL Networks business services unit saw revenues increase 8% to $160.9M with an adjusted cash flow loss of $2.5M, down from a $0.9M profit last year. “AOL’s strategy of being the first scaled media and technology company is clearly represented in our results today, and we will continue to aggressively drive the company toward near-and-long-term growth,” CEO Tim Armstrong says.
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