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AOL’s Display Down Arrow
Low expectations will only get you so far. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has done an excellent job of managing investors’ anticipations for its advertising business, but sooner or later, Armstrong will have to deliver the goods. The company reported its fourth quarter results. Business Insider’s Jay Yarow has a good overview of how AOL exceeded The Street’s poor expectations. Ad revenue fell 29 percent to $332 million in Q4, which is about what analysts were calling. The display ad business produced $151 million in revenue, which is better than projected, but the decline of 14 percent year-over-year looks pretty dismal. Meanwhile, paidContent’s David Kaplan cites eMarketer figures that show AOL’s share of online display revenues shrinking to 5.3 percent last year, down from 6.8 percent in ’09. Read the earnings release.
AOL Goes Viral
Earnings struggles aside, AOL is still on an acquisition tear. The company has just bought video advertising network GoViral for $96.7 million. As AOL has outlined several times, it is making a big bet that local content and videos will be central to the company’s turnaround. Crenk.com has the details.
FM Executive Shuffle
Former Yahoo and Scripps Networks exec Deanna Brown was brought in as president and COO of "conversational marketing" network Federated Media a year and a half ago. At the time, founder John Battelle was looking to hand over CEO duties to someone else. Essentially, Brown filled that role, but not the title. Now, Battelle has decided that the time is right to let go a bit and will become Battelle will take on a new role as Executive Chairman of the Federated Media Board of Directors and chief strategy officer. The company, which will be six this year, claims six consecutive quarters of profitability, which probably helped ease any concerns about whether this was a good time for a slight change at the top. Read the release.
You know you’ve been thinking that all the media IPOs lately – Demand Media, Nielsen, Velti, etc… -- has the pessimist in you thinking one thing: we’re in the middle of another bubble. After all, can the market really think a content aggregation startup with no clear path to profitability actually be worth more than the venerable NYT? Mediapost’s Diane Mermigas says it’s time to slow down and take a look at what’s really happening right now. "It is no coincidence that 500-plus page investigation released this week determined the financial crisis was avoidable if more companies had heeded the warning signs and managed risk," Mermigas warns. Read more
Cookie Deletion Down Under
Australia’s display market had already been going strong while the U.S. and Europe was in the doldrums. So maybe things are a little bit ahead down under. That’s enough of a reason to give comScore’s white paper, "The Impact of Cookie Deletion on Site-Server and Ad-Server Metrics in Australia" a look, especially considering how there’s so much uncertainty around whether or not users will use browser-based "Do Not Track" buttons. Among the topline findings, about 28 percent of Aussie Internet users delete their first-party cookies in a month. Third-party cookie percentages are even higher, with nearly 37 percent of web surfers deleting their third-party cookies in a month. In terms of how Australians’ cookie deletion levels compare with the U.S., U.K., Brazil, France, Germany and New Zealand, comScore found that each country saw third-party cookies being deleted by approximately 30-40 percent of Internet users, with first-party cookies deletion in excess of 20 percent in each country. Read the release here; the white paper is available for download here.
The News Is Digital
Is the paywall done? Rupert Murdoch joined the iPad hit parade as his company announced the launch of its "The Daily" news publication made for the Apple mobile device. Read the NY Times. At the same time, Murdoch’s company reported Quarterly net income in excess of $600 million.
Fresh from December’s $12 million funding round, video ad network SpotXchange is bringing in some veterans to help guide the company. Ex-Walt Disney Co./ABC TV exec Bernard Gershon has joined its board of directors. Check out the release for Gershon here.
Digiday Adds Data
News publication and ad trade conference producer DIGIDAY announced a new DIGIDAY:DATA news site that DM2 Publisher Nick Friese says will deliver "the latest news and information on data solutions, management, and privacy for marketers and media companies." Published 3x weekly, Friese says the new publication will "deliver a mix of news, expert perspectives, and executive profiles." Read more.
ExchangeWire’s Ciaran O’Kane is preparing a full slate of speakers for his site’s day-long, March 3 conference in London titled, "The Data Economy 2011." Yesterday, O’Kane announced the addition of executives from Criteo and Aegis’ iProspect with a complete agenda imminent. Read more. And, get tix.
Adnetik Spins Off Platform
According to MediaPost’s Joe Mandese, Adnetik has spun off a unit to concentrate on providing a media buying platform for the acquisition of Hispanic audience called AIM Latino. Read more.
Varick Adds Evidon’s Seal
Behavioral targeting compliance provider Evidon (fka "Better Advertising") has added yet another ad tech firm under its umbrella. Varick Media has chosen Evidon to manage its participation of the Digital Advertising Alliance’s self-regulatory targeting program. Ever since the FTC’s "Do Not Track" recommendations were issued in September, Evidon, along with DoubleVerify and TRUSTe have been scrambling to sign up companies to represent. Read the release.