I-Shops Step Up With Solid Q1

The first quarter is historically soft, but that didn’t deter aQuantive and Digitas from posting strong gains for the period last week. Modem Media recorded more modest growth, but the i-shop showed positive momentum, landing five new clients in Q1, including Charles Schwab and Spiegel.

“[Q1] is when budgets are getting finalized, campaigns are getting approved, and the rubber hits the road really in the second quarter,” said Rich Ingrassia, an analyst with Roth Capital Partners. “For the spending to look as strong as it does … it certainly is a very positive sign.”

Digital marketing and technology holding company aQuantive last Wednesday reported a first-quarter net profit of $4.1 million, or 6 cents per diluted share—a 121 percent improvement from $1.9 million, or 3 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago period. The Seattle-based company saw year-over-year revenue rise 52 percent to $22.6 million. (Its first-quarter purchases of Go Toast and NetConversions contributed $1.7 million to that figure.)

Digitas posted net income of $7.4 million, or 10 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $2.6 million, or 4 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago period. Fee revenue for the Boston i-shop rose 15 percent to $60.1 million.

Modem Media’s net income was $738,000, or 3 cents per diluted share, compared with $601,000, or 2 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter. Its first-quarter revenue increased 6 percent to $15.3 million.

“The online advertising market is off to a tremendous start to the year,” said Derek Brown, an analyst at Pacific Growth Equities.