aQuantive Posts More Profits, Sees More Growth

Interactive marketing company aQuantive gave a buoyant view of the online advertising sector Monday, posting its second straight profitable quarter and raising its financial forecast for the year.

The Seattle, Wash.-based company, which helps companies plan and run online advertising campaigns while also offering the technology for delivering the ads, beat expectations with $1.9 million in net income, up sharply from the $3.9 million net loss posted during the same period a year earlier. AQuantive’s results were led by surging revenue, which more than doubled to $47.5 millio,n compared to 2002s first quarter.

The company had expected to break even or turn a smaller profit for the quarter. The solid results have led aQuantive to up its guidance for the year, expecting revenue between $190 and $210 million and net income of $9.4 to $12.9 million. The company had earlier forecast revenue between $160 and $180 million and net income of $8 and $11.7 million.

“We’ve been working with some clients for two, three, four years now,” said Brian McAndrews, aQuantive’s chief executive and president. “We’re benefiting from showing the medium works.”

He said all three of the company’s business units fared well, with Atlas DMT beginning to show real traction in the ad-serving space.

“We’re a very strong competitor to DoubleClick,” McAndrews said. “We believe we’re stealing some market share.”

The financial results are the first since the company changed its name from Avenue A, Inc. in February. The name change was necessitated by the company’s growth over the last two years. Begun as an interactive agency called Avenue A, the company spun out a digital marketing management unit, Atlas DMT, in April 2001. On top of that, Avenue A added another interactive agency, pharmaceutical-focused i-FRONTIER, last December.

McAndrews said aQuantive had the advantage of focusing exclusively on interactive marketing, allowing it deep relationships with ad agencies and advertisers. By taking an approach that proves online advertising results in quantifiable return, he said aQuantive had been able to convince its existing client base to shift money online — an argument the online advertising industry has been making for some time.

“We’re very methodical in our approach to working with our clients,” McAndrews said, adding that online advertising’s measurability made it an ideal choice during an uncertain economic situation.

The solid quarter continues a growth pattern by aQuantive, which has now improved its bottom-line performance seven quarters in a row. Last quarter, the company turned its first profit.

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