Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

AOL’s Old News: Last Quarter Was as Bad as We Thought

Take a bow, J.P. Morgan analyst Imran Khan: You predicted that AOL would report an 18 percent drop in ad revenue for the last quarter of 2008. And it did!

Other key data points from Time Warner’s (TWX) Q4 report card:

Overall revenue at AOL dropped 23 percent (the remainder of the decrease stems from AOL’s evaporating but still substantial dial-up business). But operating income, before accounting for a gigantic write-off the company had preannounced, actually increased six percent. So if new sales boss Greg Coleman, last seen at Yahoo (YHOO), can make even modest progress in the next couple months, AOL will be able to limp along for a bit longer.

But not before more overhauls: Time Warner announced that it has earmarked another $250 million for restructuring charges at AOL and its Warner Bros. movie studios in 2009.

Time Inc.’s ad revenues dropped 20 percent, and adjusted operating income dropped 70 percent. But you can’t pin all of that on Ann Moore and company: Time had to take a $57 million charge on rent that Lehman Bros. (R.I.P.) won’t be paying to lease space at the company’s midtown office.

TIme Warner’s network TV business–HBO and Turner Broadcasting–did just fine. Gangbusters, really, by today’s standards: Revenues were up nine percent, including a seven percent bump in ad revenues.

Want to see the numbers for yourself? Click the table below to enlarge, or read the full release:


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik