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AOL fails to suck up ad revs in Q4 results

Knees up, mother Tim

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AOL continued to struggle to sell online ads in the company's fiscal fourth quarter.

The ailing internet firm reported today that its total ads revenue tumbled to $331.6m for the period ended 31 December 2010.

That's down 29 per cent on the same period a year earlier, when AOL pulled in $468.6m.

AOL's total Q4 sales were slightly better than Wall Street had predicted, with the company notching up $596m total revenue for the quarter. Analysts had expected AOL to record sales of $587.4m.

Either way, AOL's revs once again took a dramatic tumble, down 26 per cent compared to the same period in its Q4 2009 report.

Total profit were $66.2m for the period well up on last year's $1.4m.

“I am very proud of what we accomplished in 2010 as we began the year with a significant restructuring of AOL and ended the year with a significantly improved balance sheet, a number of exciting new products and a new culture focused on winning,” said AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.

“We have set aggressive goals for ourselves in 2011 in pursuit of capturing the growing opportunity ahead of us.”

But part of that effort has to involve retaining subscribers at AOL. Sadly, the one-time web giant lost 23 per cent of its subscription revenue in its latest Q4 at $235.9m.

Cheerily, it now has 3.8 million people on its books. Put less favourably, 1.1 million customers fled the service last year.

No wonder then that Armstrong is reportedly pushing for its content hacks to produce lots more "news" and video for the web portal. That's "The AOL Way", apparently. It's a subject about which TechCrunch mouthpiece Michael Arrington – whose new boss is Armstrong – has remained uncharacteristically tight-lipped. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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