TheStreet Posts Loss; Network Traffic Up

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- TheStreet ( TST), the digital media company that publishes this Web site, reported fourth-quarter results Wednesday that saw revenue drop 3% year over year but average unique monthly visitors to the company's network of sites rise 25% from last year.

The company said it "faced certain challenges in monetizing our growing audiences during the quarter" but added that it made changes late in 2011 to "flatten parts of the organization, lower costs and improve our capabilities."
  • Net loss from ongoing businesses totaled $2.4 million, or 8 cents a share, for the three months ended Dec. 31, wider than a year-ago equivalent loss of $1.7 million, or 6 cents a share.
  • Revenue totaled $14.3 million for the quarter; the premium services business saw an increase of 4% from last year, while revenue from advertising was down 16% year over year.
  • Operating expenses rose 1% from last year to $16.8 million in the quarter, mainly due to a $1.8 million restructuring charge.
  • Premium services bookings fell 7% in the fourth quarter but finished the full year up 6%. The average number of paid subscriptions was 88,422 in the fourth quarter, down from 90,640 last year. Average monthly churn came in at 3.8% for the fourth quarter.
  • "During the fourth quarter, our business continued to make solid progress in a number of our key strategic initiatives," said Daryl Otte, TheStreet's CEO, in a press release. "The size of our audience continued to grow, fueled in large part by the expanding distribution associated with our new TheStreet Business Desk service, which is seeing excellent adoption rates. Download and usage patterns of our new mobile services accelerated and we saw steady growth from our new institutional premium service."
  • Net loss from ongoing businesses totaled $8.2 million, or 27 cents a share, for the full year, wider than last year's equivalent loss of $5.4 million, or 18 cents a share.
  • Revenue from ongoing businesses rose 2% in 2011 to $57.8 million. The premium services businesses saw an increase of 4% for the year, while the marketing services business posted a revenue decline of 2%.
  • Operating expenses totaled $66.6 million for the full year, up 6%, as costs related to restructuring and investment offset a 12% decline in general and administrative expenses
  • Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) came in at $2 million for 2011, up $800,000.
  • TheStreet had cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and marketable securities of $75.3 million as of Dec. 31, down $1.5 million from Sept. 30. The company reported free cash flow of $1.6 million for the full year.

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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