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Broadcast.com beats estimates

The Webcasting company posts a better-than-expected third quarter loss, as does Internet service provider Earthlink.

    Webcast company Broadcast.com posted a better-than-expected third quarter loss today and its shares got a boost after the company announced a credit card deal with First USA.

    National Internet service provider EarthLink also reported better-than-expected financial results today.

    Broadcast.com reported a third quarter net loss of $3.9 million, or 23 cents a share, bigger when compared with a net loss of $1.9 million, or 16 cents a share, for the like quarter a year ago. But Wall Street expected the company to lose 26 cents a share, according to investment research firm First Call.

    Quarterly revenue rose to $4.5 million from $1.9 million a year ago. The company attributed much of the growth to its business services unit, which accounted for nearly 44 percent of total revenue during the third quarter.

    Earlier today Broadcast.com announced a multi-year deal making First USA the exclusive credit card issuer on the site and said it would broadcast 10 Forbes business conferences in the next year.

    "Broadcast.com is clearly positioned as the leading Internet portal and destination for video and audio broadcasts for both consumers and businesses," said chief executive Todd Wagner.

    Today's release marks only the second time the company has reported its financial results since its stellar initial public offering in July.

    Stock in the company closed more than 10 percent higher today, up 3.9375 at 41.9375, ahead of the news. The financial results were released after the markets closed. Shares have traded as high as 74 and as low as 32.75 in the past 52 weeks.

    Meanwhile, executives said site traffic grew to a daily average of more than 520,000 unique visitors.

    Broadcast.com, formerly Audio Net, provides the Webcast technology for many Internet sites. The company helped several news sites deliver video of President Clinton's grand jury testimony which helped boost traffic last month.

    As previously reported, Broadcast.com and ESPN.com partnered during the quarter to deliver audio of college football games.

    Mary Meeker, an Internet analyst at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, expects the ESPN deal to add new users. "With the fall sports season getting under way, we expect to see a significant increase in traffic on Broadcast.com," she wrote in a report released Friday.

    During the second quarter the company reported a net loss of $3.9 million, or 27 cents a share, on revenue of $3.7 million.

    EarthLink Network also beat expectations and trimmed its year-over-year losses.

    The company posted a net loss of $18.8 million, or 78 cents a share, for the quarter ended September 30. Excluding a charge related to its relationship with Sprint, EarthLink posted a loss of $1.1 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with a loss of $7.2 million, or 36 cents a share, for the like quarter a year ago.

    Financial analysts predicted the company would loss 12 cents per share, according to First Call.

    Quarterly revenue rose to $49.8 million from $21 million a year ago.

    Executives said EarthLink added 105,000 new users during the quarter, bringing its subscriber total to 815,000. The ISP, with a strong Macintosh user base, is the default Net access provider on Apple's successful new iMac consumer desktop computer. Last week the company inked content deals with 20 news and search sites.

    Stock in the company finished the day nearly 2 percent higher at 39.125 ahead of the news. Shares have traded as high as 46.25 and as low as 7.5625 in the past 52 weeks.

    In other earnings news, Apex PC Solutions, one of the leading makers of the beige plastic cabinets that house servers and workstations, reported better-than-expected third quarter profits.

    Apex posted net income of $4 million, or 29 cents a share, for the quarter ended September 25, compared with net income of $3 million, or 22 cents a share, for the like quarter a year ago.

    Wall Street expected the company to earn 27 cents a share, according to First Call. Quarterly revenue rose to $18.1 million from $15.3 million for the like quarter a year ago.