AOL CEO: Hurricane Sandy Boosted Traffic for Company Sites

Hurricane Sandy Submerged NYPD Cars - H 2012
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Hurricane Sandy Submerged NYPD Cars - H 2012

The online company's Tim Armstrong says its sites provided extensive coverage, while other media companies on their earnings calls focused on possible storm damage.

News coverage of and fallout from Hurricane Sandy came up during several media and entertainment companies' earnings conference calls on Tuesday.

AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said on the online firm's call that its Huffington Post is moving its web sites to AOL's data center following a technical outage caused by the storm.

Armstrong also suggested that there was no other media company that covered Hurricane Sandy "more extensively and comprehensively" than AOL, which used its various Patch local news sites and the Huffington Post. Last Tuesday was the highest-ever traffic day for Patch, he said, and the Huffington Post drew 10 million unique visitors, Armstrong said.
And he lauded hundreds of AOL staffers in the Baltimore and Washington, DC areas for helping procure and distribute goods for people in need.

Cablevision also addressed the impact of Hurricane Sandy, but on its operations. The cable company didn't provide an estimate for the impact on its financials, but CFO Gregg Seibert acknowledged that it would be "significant."

Liberty Interactive CFO Chris Shean on Tuesday also briefly mentioned Sandy in discussing home shopping channel QVC saying that the company has some distribution facilities in areas affected by the storm that have been impacted. He didn't spend much time on the issue though in a move that signaled the company wasn't expecting a major financial impact.

Meanwhile, Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav opened his company's call Tuesday by sharing his and his team's thoughts to all affected by the hurricane. "It was quite a week," he said before discussing Discovery's latest financials.

On Monday, Time Warner Cable president and CEO Glenn Britt had said that Hurricane Sandy left "some damage" to the cable company's facilities, vehicles and outdoor plant, especially in New York City. Management is evaluating the damage and its insurance coverage, Britt said, but added that the financial fallout will not be "very significant."


Twitter: @georgszalai