AOL Time Warner 2Q03 Notes

I still think the strategy of migrating the AOL base to a rich package of content, services, and software via 9.0 BYOA is the right strategy, but the subscriber drop-off is alarming. AOL management had to lower its outlook overall (total 03 revenues down mid-single digits) because of “limited visibility” into subscription trends.

Management is so focused on subscriptions that it risks losing sight of advertising. Yahoo had more marketing revenues ($220M to $180M) this quarter – for the first time ever. MSN doesn’t break out financial details, but is likely in the same range. Chairman Dick Parsons said, absent long-term contracts dying off, “AOL would have had a pretty good year” in advertising. I disagree.

[David Card]

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