Earnings: SportsLine.com, Digitas, eUniverse

SportsLine.com Improves Results, Sees Ad Revenues Fall

Sportsline.com, operator of CBS Sportline.com, reported improved financial results for the fourth quarter, but said advertising revenues fell from last year.

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company said revenues for the quarter were $19.9 million, an increase of 28 percent from a year ago. Net loss for the quarter was $8.3 million, down 40 percent from 2001. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $2.2 million, up from the $4.4 million EBITDA loss recorded in fourth quarter 2001. This marked the first time Sportsline.com achieved EBITDA profitability.

Unlike a number of publishers reporting solid ad gains this quarter, Sportsline.com saw its ad revenues fall. Quarterly ad revenues declined 12 percent to $12 million. The company was still able to grow revenues, thanks to strong growth in its subscription services, particularly fantasy games. The site’s fantasy sports generated $11 million in revenues during the year, creating 80,000 leagues.

Subscription services continue to play a more prominent role at SportsLine.com, growing from an 8 percent share of total revenues in 2001 to 23 percent in 2002.

Digitas Reports Higher Revenue, Profits

Internet marketing consultancy Digitas said it saw higher revenues in the fourth quarter as the company turned a small profit.

In the fourth quarter, the company had total revenues of $92.3 million, up 38 percent from last year’s fourth quarter. Fee revenue increased 9 percent to $51.4 million. Digitas had net income of $1.7 million, a sharp turnaround from the $6.3 million loss recorded a year earlier.

“Relationship marketing is increasingly important to our clients’ success, which is why we believe they continue to shift marketing spending toward the services where we excel,” said David Kenny, the chairman and chief executive of Digitas.

Looking ahead, the company’s chief operating officer, Jeff Cote, said he was “cautiously optimistic” Digitas can continue to bounce back.

eUniverse Triples Revenue, Turns Profit

Internet entertainment company eUniverse reported solid growth in its third-quarter financial results Thursday, tripling revenue and returning a profit.

For the three months ending Dec. 31, the Los Angeles-based company said revenues were $26.3 million, up from $10.1 million in the same period a year ago. Net income rose to $3.3 million from $2 million in last year’s third quarter.

The company attributed its growth to its decision to shift its business strategy from a dependence on adverting to offering more paid services. In the last year, eUniverse has made acquisitions, such as e-mail list broker ResponseBase, to boost its paid services and complement its paid content sites like CupidJunction.com, an online dating site. The company runs a stable of content sites, such as FitnessHeaven.com and InfoBeat.com, as well as a number of newsletters. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, the eUniverse network drew 13 million unique visitors from home in November.

In the last quarter, eUniverse reported that it derived about three-fourths of its revenues from paid services. The company said its subscriber base reached 540,000, after growing nearly 28 percent during the fourth quarter.

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