Vonage Churning Subscribers, Stomachs

May. 7.09 | About: Vonage Holdings (VG)

vonageCan this really be true? Vonage (NYSE:VG) posted a quarterly profit? Indeed it is. The Iong-suffering Internet phone company reported first-quarter earnings today and with them its first profit ever: $5 million on revenue of $224 million. Sadly, that profit was only made possible by “a $13 million mark-to-market adjustment relating to the derivative liability in the Company’s convertible debt.” Without the adjustment, Vonage would have reported a net loss of $7.7 million.

That’s not nearly as bad as the $10.3 million loss the company posted in the fourth quarter of 2008. Still, it’s not pretty. Especially given some of the company’s other metrics. Vonage lost 6,000 net subscriber lines during the quarter at a time when you’d expect the souring economy to be driving cost-conscious consumers into its waiting arms. Churn rose to 3.1 percent from 2.9 percent. And ultimately, the company ended the quarter with 2,583,861 subscribers, fewer than the 2,610,360 it had a year ago.

In its earnings release, Vonage said it has tapped TBWA\Chiat\Day, “a firm known for creating impactful messaging on highly regarded brands,” to do something similar for it. But is that even possible with a not-so-highly-regarded brand like Vonage?