TheStreet Posts Loss; Revenue Climbs

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- TheStreet ( TST), the digital media group that publishes this Web site, posted a net loss of $1.7 million in the second quarter while delivering its highest revenue total in nearly three years.

The New York-based online financial news provider on Wednesday reported revenue of $15.1 million from its ongoing businesses in the latest quarter, as both subscription and advertising revenue increased. In the same period a year earlier, the company lost $340,000 on revenue of $14.7 million.

On an adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) basis, TheStreet earned $700,000 in the latest three months, down slightly from equivalent earnings of $900,000 in the year-ago period.

"While the growth rates we experienced in the first quarter moderated as the level of uncertainty in the global financial markets increased and advertisers and investors became more cautious -- particularly as the quarter progressed -- we nonetheless saw a number of key proof points which confirm to us that the Company's strategy is gaining traction," said Daryl Otte, the company's CEO, in a press release. "Notably, revenue in both our ongoing businesses continued to grow and in total represented the highest it has been in eleven quarters."

TheStreet said average monthly unique visitors to its network of sites jumped 33% year over year in the second quarter, according to internal measurements, and that its average number of paid subscriptions totaled 93,125 in the second quarter, a 3.8% increase from year-ago levels.

"This audience growth, a direct result of the investments made in technology and distribution for our content over the past year, propelled the Company into the top ten rankings in June 2011, up two ranking points compared to the same period last year, as measured by comScore for its broad Business/Finance News/Research category," Otte said.

Revenue from premium services totaled $10.1 million in the latest quarter, an increase of 4%, as bookings rose 9% from last year. Average monthly churn was 3.6%, down from 3.9% a year earlier but up from 3.4% in the first quarter. Advertising revenue came in at $5 million, up 2% from last year and 10% on a sequential basis.

Otte also highlighted the company's positive free cash flow for the first six months of the year, noting that TheStreet's balance of cash and marketable securities grew to $77.4 million as of March 31, an increase of $1.8 million from last year's level.

TheStreet said operating expenses rose 16% year over year to $16.9 million in the latest quarter but dipped 1% on a sequential basis. The increased operating expenses reflect a $300,000 rise in sales and marketing expense, a $500,000 increase in depreciation and amortization costs and an $800,000 boost in cost of services expense.

The stock closed Wednesday's regular session at $2.86. The stock is up nearly 7% so far in 2011.

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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