NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- TheStreet(TST) - Get Report, the digital media group that publishes this Web site, posted a net loss of $1.7 million in the fourth quarter while breaking even on an adjusted EBITDA basis on the strength of stronger subscriptions.
The New York-based online financial news provider on Thursday reported revenue of $14.7 million from its ongoing businesses for the latest quarter. The company lost $800,000 in last year's equivalent quarter on revenue of $15 million and adjusted EBITDA
earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $3 million.
Full-year revenue from ongoing businesses rose to $56.7 million, and adjusted EBITDA came in at $1.2 million. Results from ongoing businesses exclude the operations of Promotions.com, which was divested in December 2009; the banking and insurance ratings business of
, which was sold in May 2010; and revenue from a legal settlement that expired in July 2009. TheStreet's net loss for the year totaled $5.3 million, down from $47.7 million in fiscal 2009.
"TheStreet's revenue from its ongoing businesses increased 7% in 2010 as compared to the prior year, with advertising revenue up 5% and premium services revenue up 7%," said Daryl Otte, the company's chief executive officer, in a statement. "As we've previously announced, the Company embarked on a strategic investment program during the year with the commitment to remain adjusted EBITDA positive for the year, a promise we have fulfilled."
TheStreet showed improvement on a number of metrics in the fourth quarter, including a 20% sequential rise in bookings for its premium services offerings, an 8% increase in its average number of paid subscriptions to 90,640, a decline in subscriber churn to 3.6% from 4% last year, and a year-over-year jump of 18% in the average number of monthly unique visitors for its network of sites.
"The size of the audience to our network of sites is growing nicely in part on the strength of natural search improvements," Otte said. "Our subscription counts are up, benefitting strongly from growth in our new services; churn rates are improving, a result of improved product quality, technological improvements and the efforts of our telesales organization; and sequential subscription bookings are rebounding sharply, up 20% in the fourth quarter of 2010 over the prior quarter."
Despite a 6% year-over-year decline in advertising revenue for the fourth quarter, Otte said TheStreet sees improvement ahead.
"The advertising pipeline at year-end and into 2011 was the strongest we have seen in some time, on the strength of our investments in the sales teams, the introduction of custom marketing packages for our key advertisers and our investment in improving the quality of our sites' page views," Otte said, adding that a recent change in
search algorithm to give greater weight to content quality should benefit TheStreet.
"While it is too early to comment on any long-term impact of this change for our network of sites, it is expected that sites that produce in-depth, original, high-quality content, like TheStreet, will see their rankings elevated," Otte said.
TheStreet finished the December quarter with cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and marketable securities of $78.6 million, down $1.1 million from its total as of Sept. 30.
Written by Michael Baron in New York.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.