Aol Display Sees Growth
Good news for display lovers as Aol may have hit bottom with its display momentum in and may be turning toward the display ad mountaintop if the company's just-reported Q1 2011 financials are any indication. In the earnings release, Aol said, "Global display revenue grew 4%, marking the first quarter of year-over-year growth since Q4 2007. Domestic display grew 11% in Q1 2011 or 6% excluding acquisitions, driven by improved yield management of AOL properties." Aol CEO Tim Armstrong added on the earnings call, "The most important thing is, we removed roughly 65% of the impressions off of our services last year in an effort to make our revenue really healthy and to work with the right customers." Scarcity wins in this case, perhaps. On the earnings/revenue front, Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney notes that Aol beat Wall Street estimates in a note to investors: "$551MM Revenue was above our/Street estimate at $531MM/$586MM, and Adjusted EBITDA of $108MM (excluding restructuring) was better than our/Street estimate at $94MM." See the Aol earnings release. Ad.com stopped the bleeding, too, as Armstrong said the ad network was "able to stabilize the performance in Q1, and I think we are excited about where Ad.com sits right now on a go-forward basis". Read the call transcript.
The Devil Unit
The WSJ's Emily Steel reports that Hearst will begin running a big honkin' Aol "Devil ad unit" in the right column of some of its well-known properties. Aol CEO Tim Armstrong said on the Aol conference call that Devil units bring a "full funnel" approach to display. Steel writes, "Hearst is the first outside company to sign on to the ads, which AOL started running on its own sites in September and which are roughly four times the size of graphical online ads and appear on the right-hand side of websites." Aol gets a tech licensing fee from Hearst and advertisers get a bit more scale and reach for the media unit. Read more.
Hearst is getting busy with tech. The publishing conglomerate signed a deal with Apple according to the WSJ: "Starting with their July issues, iPad apps for Esquire, Popular Mechanics and O, The Oprah Magazine, will be available through a service from Apple that allows customers to sign up for subscriptions inside the apps and get billed automatically." The magazines are going metal. Read it.
In a New York Times article as media counter Nielsen is saying "that 96.7 percent of American households now own sets, down from 98.9 percent previously." Consumers may be cutting their television cords, figuratively, as they consume their media through the personal computer and other computer-ish devices. Read more.
eMarketer has taken data from a MediaMind study and turned into some nice graphics targeting the deletion of user cookies. eMarketer notes the following from the study, "In the US, where users delete cookies more often on average than those in Europe and Australia, cookie counting can inflate statistics by a factor of 3." Website unique visitor numbers may not be as high as everyone thinks. Read more.
India-based Ybrant Digital, which raised $48 million from Oak Investment Partners among others in January, announced it has launched the Facebook Quality Control Center (QCC) for Facebook app regulation compliance. The new tech loosely echoes the OBA behavioral "i" as the release explains that the Ybrant solution which was built on the AppNexus platform "overlays an 'X' in the upper right of each creative that will provide a Facebook user the opportunity to close the ad and flag it. The user is then prompted to respond to a short, voluntary survey asking if they found the ad 'irrelevant,' 'offensive,' 'misleading,' 'repetitive' or 'other.'" Read the release (PDF).
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