artnet has reported its six months’ financial results, and, unlike the Sotheby’s numbers that we commented on last week (see Sotheby’s report), its performance is disappointing. Revenue fell to the sum reported in the same period of last year, the firm returned to a net loss and its bet to grow on the back of its online auction offering is not (yet) working.
For more than three years, artnet has consistently said that while it faces declines in gallery membership and information sales, the firm’s growth should come from the online auction business unit that it launched a few years ago. Unfortunately for artnet, the timing for the online auction launch largely coincided with the global economic meltdown of 2008, and the company’s management asked for the benefit of the doubt on the question of whether its online art trading would prosper once economic recovery resumed.
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