Despite Ad Declines, AOL Posts Profit in First Report Since Spin-Off

Wall Street rewards the unexpected.

AOL posted its first quarterly earnings since being spun-off from Time Warner late last year. Total revenue came in at $809.7 million, down from $974.2 million in Q4 2008, a 17% drop.

“We have made significant progress in support of the long-term vision we see in the future of AOL, but today’s results continue to reflect the need for our focus and execution on the work required in the turnaround of the Company,” said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Ad revenues came in at $471.6 million, declining $512.5 million year-over-year, an 8% drop. Despite the declines, AOL managed a profit of $1.4 million. It’s a small profit, but much better than last year’s $1.96 billion dollar loss.

AOL said ad losses are primarily due to the decline in subscriptions to their Internet access business. Those users tend to search more and monetize at a higher rate than visitors to

“2009 marked the closing of an important chapter in AOL’s history and the opening of a new chapter that we are passionately pursuing. We have a clearly defined strategy, and we enter 2010 incredibly focused on day-to-day execution,” said Armstrong.

Wall Street seemed pleased with this first post spin-off report. Stocks were up 3.77% at the time of this post.

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