/// What earnings reports have revealed about ads
Businessweek – Several companies that sell advertising have been reporting their quarterly earnings. Here are highlights from selected Internet and media companies and what they say about the state of spending on advertising:
— July 16: Gannett Co. says advertising demand was “uneven” and “choppy.” Ad revenue at Gannett’s newspaper publishing segment fell 8 percent to $594 million. Broadcasting revenue climbed 11 percent to $205 million, helped by stronger political and auto-related TV advertising, as well as growth at Gannett’s Captivate business, which shows ads in elevators. The company expects the Olympics and political spending to bolster results in the second half of the year.
— July 17: Yahoo Inc. says revenue for the latest quarter dipped 1 percent to $1.22 billion. After taking out ad commissions, Yahoo’s net revenue totaled $1.08 billion. That figure fell about $16 million below analyst estimates. The net revenue, a focal point for investors, was slightly higher than the same time last year. That marked the second consecutive quarter that Yahoo had posted modestly higher net revenue.
Omnicom Group Inc., which owns marketing agencies, says its U.S. business helped lift second-quarter net income 1.5 percent, making up for a decline overseas. Domestic revenue grew 5.4 percent, while international revenue fell 1.3 percent.
— July 19: Google Inc’s earnings hit analysts’ target as refinements to the company’s Internet search technology lured more Web surfers to click on its revenue-producing ads. Google’s revenue, excluding that from a recent Motorola purchase, stood at $8.36 billion after subtracting the ad commissions paid to its advertising partners. That was about $70 million below analyst projections. The number of total clicks on Google’s ads during the second quarter increased 42 percent from the same time last year. The increasing volume in clicks helped Google shake off a deepening decline in its ad prices.
Microsoft Corp. takes a $6.2 billion accounting charge because its 2007 purchase of online ad service aQuantive hasn’t yielded the returns envisioned by management. With that, Microsoft’s online services division reported a loss of $6.7 billion, compared with a loss of $745 million a year ago. Revenue fell 8 percent to $735 million.
— July 25: AOL Inc. reports stronger-than-expected revenue and its fifth straight quarter of advertising growth — signs that its efforts to turn its business around are starting to pay off. AOL’s advertising revenue grew 6 percent to $338 million.
IAC/InterActiveCorp reports better-than-expected results for the second quarter thanks to sharply higher revenue from its family of websites and applications. Revenue from IAC’s search segment, which includes ads and applications, grew 46 percent to $349 million.
— July 26: Interpublic Group of Cos., a holding company for advertising and marketing agencies, says second-quarter net income fell 3 percent, hurt by some U.S. account losses in 2011 and the stronger dollar. Account losses included consumer products maker S.C. Johnson & Son Inc.
The New York Times Co. reports that second-quarter revenue increased slightly. Most of the revenue gain stemmed from higher newspaper circulation, especially in its digital editions. That helped to offset advertising revenue declines. The company says its advertising revenue decreased 7 percent to $244 million.
Meredith Corp., publisher of Better Homes and Gardens and Fitness magazines, says advertising revenue rose 11 percent to $210.3 million, helped by the acquisitions of the Allrecipes.com, EveryDay with Rachael Ray and FamilyFun brands.
— July 31: Discovery Communications Inc. says ad revenue grew 7 percent in the U.S. thanks to higher pricing, while ad revenue grew 11 percent abroad.
— Aug. 1: Time Warner Inc. says ad revenue at its TV networks increased 2 percent largely because of higher ad rates and an increase in the number of NBA games shown on its channels. But ad revenue at news networks in the U.S. and entertainment networks abroad fell. Ad revenue at the Time Inc. magazine division fell 7 percent. The company says ad sales may be slower in the current quarter partly because advertisers are diverting money to the Olympics. It also expects to be showing fewer baseball games during the quarter, but that will be made up with a heavier fourth-quarter schedule.
Comcast Corp. says ad revenue at NBCUniversal cable networks increased 4 percent. The networks include CNBC, MSNBC and Bravo.
TV station operator Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. says political ad spending has been three times higher than the company expected. Political ad revenue came to $11.4 million in the quarter, up from $1.2 million a year ago. Some of that is from buying additional stations.
— Aug. 2: CBS Corp. says advertising revenue fell 3 percent to $2.14 billion. In the current quarter, CEO Les Moonves conceded that the market for last-minute ad buys is showing some “softness”. He blamed NBC’s coverage of the London Olympics for taking away a lot of the available viewers and ad dollars.
Time Warner Cable Inc. says ad revenue increased 18 percent to $265 million, in part because of increased in political spending.
— Aug. 3: Viacom Inc. says U.S. advertising at its TV networks fell 7 percent. Viacom has been struggling with a ratings decline for key channels, particularly Nickelodeon. The company says the timing of certain awards shows also cut into advertising revenue. Last year, both shows were in the third quarter; this year, neither was.
— Aug. 7: The Walt Disney Co. says ad revenue at ESPN rose in the “mid-teen” percentages thanks to higher prices, sales volume and bigger audiences.
— Aug. 8: News Corp. says ad revenue at its U.S. cable channels grew 5 percent in the latest quarter, led by growth at its regional sports networks and National Geographic channels. Ad revenue at channels abroad grew 18 percent because of improving ad markets and viewership. Broadcast television saw lower national advertising revenue largely because of lower ratings for “American Idol.”
— Aug. 30: WPP Group PLC, an owner of ad agencies, says revenue grew 5.5 percent in North America and 6.1 percent in the U.K. during the second quarter, but fell 3 percent in Western Europe.
— Sept. 13: The Walt Disney Co.’s chief financial officer, Jay Rasulo, says at an investors conference in New York that TV advertising revenue did not rebound as expected after the conclusion of the London Olympics on rival NBC. Disney owns ABC and ESPN.