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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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald