Profit for online giant AOL have nearly tripled in a year, despite it losing ground to free Internet access providers in Europe.
The company reported net profit of $156 million, or $0.13 per share for the fourth quarter ending 30 June, up from $58 million for the same quarter in 1998.
Revenue for the quarter rose to $1.4 billion, an increase of 46 per cent over the year ago quarter. Advertising, ecommerce and revenue other than subscriptions reached $306 million, up 87 per cent over 1998’s fourth quarter.
Profit for fiscal 1999 increased to $396 million, or $0.34 cents per share, on revenue of $4.8 billion. This compares to the previous year’s profit of $59 million, or $0.06 per share on revenue of $3.1 billion.
Advertising, ecommerce and other revenue for the full year amounted to $1 billion, an 84 per cent climb over fiscal 1998.
The AOL online service netted 755,000 new members during the fourth quarter and over five million during the fiscal year as a whole. At the end of the quarter AOL totalled 17.6 million members while Compuserve hit the two million mark.
However, the total number of subscribers outside the US has remained static at three million, possibly hit by the growth of the free services in Europe.
AOL has resisted the move to a free service until last week when it announced Netscape Online. (see Newswire 19 July The free service is in addition to its existing subscriber service, which netted $943 million worldwide last quarter.
AOL’s multiple brand strategy appears to have paid off as of 30 June this year it had 38 million users of ICQ instant chat, 25 million of AOL Instant Messenger and 17 million of Netscape Netcenter.
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