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A crazy quarter for AOL, Blockbuster and Kodak

By Maxine Shapiro, KERA 90.1 business commentator

Dallas, TX – The stock market: there's always a name I know, an item I use or a brand I've come to revere. Here are the earnings of a few of those. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Midday.

America Online. AOL. Every time there's a problem, I say I'm going to switch and then I don't. 1.2 million members were not quite as forgiving. That was the decrease from last year's membership, which now stands at 25.3 million in the U.S. - though our buddies in Europe have increased slightly, bringing their membership to just over 6 million. And probably if it weren't for their Internet unit, AOL Time Warner would have forecast a much cheerier future. All that said, the media mogul - who also operates Warner Brother's movie studio, a cable TV provider, publisher of Time Inc. and all of their publications, HBO, Turner Broadcasting System (which included CNN and a few other small outfits) - reported higher-than-expected earnings. In fact, they doubled their second quarter net income. But don't get too excited. Though they do seem to be coming out of the funk they've been in for a few years, this quarterly gain is attributed to their sale of the Comedy Central cable channel to Viacom (like they needed one more media outlet), and a settlement with Microsoft.

Staying with the entertainment industry, Blockbuster must be doing something right, besides screaming "Hello!" to me clear across the store. Is it the free tiny cups of popcorn, or maybe the helpful kid who now wanders around the store asking if he could help find something? Would someone give this guy roller-skates?! And naturally, he gets no credit for the company's net income - a 47% increase last quarter from last year. But they do credit strong growth in DVD sales. It helped their revenue bounce up 10%. And their outlook for the rest of the year is in line to beat analysts' expectations.

And Kodak, who's trying so hard to keep its head above water, said profits fell 60% last quarter. It's those nasty digital cameras. But believe it or not, it wasn't as bad as previously projected and the stock is up today. For KERA Marketplace Midday, I'm Maxine Shapiro.

Marketplace Midday Reports air on KERA 90.1 Monday - Friday at 1:04 p.m.

Email Maxine Shapiro about this story.