Google and Microsoft offered a contrast in advertising fortunes as they reported earnings for the latest quarter. While Google showed that refinements to the company’s Internet search technology lured more Web surfers to click on its revenue-producing ads, Microsofttook a big non-cash charge that led to its first loss as a public company. Other companies will be reporting in the coming days and weeks.
Here are highlights of recent quarterly earnings reports 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.