While the company swung to a loss and continues to see its revenue decline, its advertising revenue helped AOL surpass analysts' estimates for the quarter.
As a result, shares of the Internet giant soared 12% to $15.06, after being down more than 40% year to date prior to the release.
During the quarter, the company lost $2.6 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with a profit of $171.6 million, or $1.61, in the year-ago period.Revenue fell 6% to $531.7 million, easily topping analysts' estimates of $524 million. Revenue has declined every quarter since late 2009. AOL continues to lose subscribers, with subscription revenue declining 22% to $192 million. Subscriptions represent about 36% of total revenue. Total advertising revenue grew 8% to $317.7 million, with the company noting strength in third-party network ads and global display advertising revenue. "Third-quarter results were ahead of expectations, and while this should be positive for stock near-term, we are still awaiting confirmation of a turnaround in revenue growth and sustained margin expansion, something that could materialize in the first half of 2012," Jeffries analyst Youssef Squali wrote in a note. - Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York. Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.