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Earnings Calendar Jan & Feb 2017: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

 

Here we have the first “earnings season” of 2017 for gaming, media and technology stocks, and just like last quarter, I’m right here to map out the schedule so you can keep up-to-date with all sorts of fun, interesting financial results. Why else would you be here!

 

As usual, above I’ve compiled a list of numerous companies that are reporting results this quarter. Since it’s the beginning of a new year, some will even report full-year figures from their latest fiscal years. Bonus content!

 

Below is also a Google Docs link you can use as a reference, in particular if you want to check out a company’s Investor Relations website as I’ve listed each alongside company name and ticker:

 

Updated 2/6/2017: More companies and dates are present

 

Working Casual Earnings Calendar Jan & Feb 2017: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

 

A couple higlights include Nintendo $NTDOY having its first earnings meeting since formally revealing its newest console, the Nintendo Switch. Might hear some sales expectations if we’re lucky.

 

This is also the first earnings release for Time Warner $TWX after announcing it will be acquired by AT&T $T. Might be some further guidance on this deal and its timetable, as it was one of the largest acquisitions announced in 2016.

 

And lastly, we’ll see if Vivendi $VIV provides more information on its ownership stake in publisher Ubisoft Entertainment SA $UBI. At last count, Vivendi owned more than 25% of Ubisoft, which has pundits thinking a hostile takeover is fast-approaching.

 

Before I go, note that a handful of companies like Alibaba, Netflix, Samsung and Verizon and have reported already earlier this month, so going forward I’ll shoot to have this article up a bit earlier. Apologies, but hey we’ve got plenty of earnings season left to enjoy. Let me know if you are looking forward to any resutls in particular, or if I missed any you might want to see on the list. Thanks!

 

-Dom

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Earnings Calendar Oct & Nov 2016: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

working-casual-earnings-calendar-oct-nov-2016

 

Quarterly earnings season has started again for public companies, where they report how business is going over the latest 3 months period. I started this type of post last quarter, and have again compiled an Earnings Calendar above for select companies in the gaming, media and technology sectors that you might be interested in following.

 

This is also available as a Google Doc at the link below, in case you’d like to visit any of the Investor Relations sites with ease.

Working Casual Earnings Calendar Oct & Nov 2016: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

 

Microsoft Corp ($MSFT) and Advanced Micro Devices ($AMD) are the first of these firms on the list to report, with results coming after U.S. stock market is closed for the day. This kicks off what is always an interesting, fun time for those of us who enjoy knowing how companies are doing and hoping for as much transparency as possible!

 

Some of the names to keep an eye on this quarter are the following:

 

apple-logo-rainbow

 

Apple Inc ($AAPL): Reporting on Tuesday 10/25, the largest company in the world’s earnings are always a great indicator of consumer sentiment worldwide. It will be especially interesting this quarter with the release of its latest mobile iteration, the iPhone 7, plus the ongoing woes of its major competitor Samsung Electronics ($005935) which recently lowered guidance because of the discontinuation of its Galaxy Note 7 line of products.

 

HACS_001_logo_R_ad

 

Nintendo Co Ltd ($NTDOY): Just this morning, Nintendo announced its long-awaited new console (code-name “NX”) as the Nintendo Switch, a device that gamers can use at the home or on-the-go as a handheld platform. This obviously won’t impact earnings just yet, as it’s slated for release in March 2017, but this will be the first financial release where the very popular mobile game Pokemon GO contributes to sales. Still, I expect another sluggish quarter for Nintendo as it doesn’t receive 100% of the revenue from Pokemon GO plus its existing hardware is getting long-in-the-tooth and doesn’t have many titles driving sales.

 

sony-ps-vr

 

Sony Corp ($SNE): Sony has “lost” the battle with Microsoft in the U.S. when it comes to console hardware sales during the last three months according to the NPD Group, with the Xbox One outselling Sony’s PlayStation 4 during this time frame. A lack of major exclusive games and the Xbox One having a new “slimmer” model are primary factors, though the PlayStation 4 is still leading when it comes to overall sales by a large margin. Sony also released its first foray into virtual reality last week in PlayStation VR, but this happened after its latest quarter ended so its contribution won’t be until next time.

 

Which companies are you watching closely this quarter? Any big products or news stories that you think might influence how firms in these industries are faring? Shoot me a note!

 

Sources: NASDAQ, NPD Group, Company Investor Relations & Press/Media Websites

-Dom

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Earnings Calendar July & Aug 2016: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

Microsoft Logo

 

Every quarter, “earnings season” comes around and gets us financial nerds excited. This is the recurring time period when public companies around the globe announce results for their latest financial period, whether it be quarterly, semi-annually or annually. The releases for this latest quarter usually happen between July and August for the months prior to the end of June i.e. half-way through the year.

 

Different companies have different fiscal periods, of course, but this is the general timetable and it makes for an interesting time since it’s the best way to get a handle on how well a company is performing and also gather reactions from investors, analysts and industry commentators.

 

Ubisoft Logo

 

In “celebration” of our latest earnings period, I’ve compiled a list of select companies in the gaming, media and technology industries and the dates on which each will reveal their latest results. See this full list as follows.

 

This list has been edited as of 8/4/2016, with updates to some that were “estimated” previously. These are NVIDIA, NetEase, Mad Catz and GameStop.

 

Still unsure on Square Enix and NCSoft, will update accordingly!

 

Working Casual Earnings Calendar July Aug 2016 Update2

 

This is also available via the following Google Docs link, in case you’d like to visit the individual links I’ve compiled:

 

Working Casual Earnings Calendar July & Aug 2016: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

 

This is sorted based on timing, and I’ve included a link to each firm’s investor relations site which is where you can go of course to read the full announcements. Public companies will also have an earnings conference call where executives and key personnel announce the results formally and take questions from analysts covering their stock.

 

This is actually my favorite part of the earnings ritual, in particular the analyst Q&A sessions, as the calls offer even much more insight into how a company is doing. Sometimes executives will provide facts or statements outside of what is in the press release or filings, and it helps provide further context for results and also it’s revealing on who is running the company. And there are even times when an executive can’t answer one of the questions, or dances around the real answer, and it’s fun to see the back-and-forth between these parties.

 

Nintendo Logo

 

A couple highlights are today both Microsoft Corporation and Ubisoft Entertainment SA will reveal their latest results, then next week the world’s largest company Apple Inc will be reporting.

 

Nintendo Co., Ltd. will also report next week, after the exceptional initial success of its Pokemon Go venture with The Pokemon Company and Niantic Labs. I wouldn’t expect to learn how much this new mobile game sensation is contributing to revenue just yet, as it’s only been out for a week and a half (hard to believe, right!). Still, Nintendo will likely address the game in some capacity.

 

Technology manufacturer Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is late next week, as is huge retailer Amazon.com Inc. These companies, in addition to Apple, are often a sort of barometer for how consumers are acting on a global scale.

 

Tencent Logo

 

Lastly, in August, we’ll hear from Tencent Holdings Ltd in its first financial release after acquiring Finnish developer Supercell for $8.6 billion. The company is now the world’s largest public gaming firm by revenue, and serves as a benchmark to seeing how well the international mobile games market is faring in particular.

 

Want to hear more about the releases as they happen? I often try to provide perspective and figures/numbers on Twitter when I’m not writing here, so visit me and shoot me a tweet! I should have a write-up on a couple of these companies soon, in particular both Activision Blizzard, Inc. and Nintendo. Until then, did I miss any companies you are following? Please let me know and I’ll add them accordingly.

 

Sources: Company Investor Relations Websites, Wall Street Journal, Newzoo.

 

-Dom

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Bottom Line: What is Activision Blizzard’s Actual Business Mix After KING Acquisition?

KING-NYSE

 

Now that Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI) today has reported its first quarterly earnings since its acquisition of King Digital Entertainment PLC (KING) in February, how does its business mix actually look now and does this indicate potential upside going forward?

I predicted a few weeks back that based on KING’s financials, the combined firm’s Mobile segment would now comprise approximately a third of revenue, operating income and distribution channels (latter of which is the means by which customers purchase its products). This would mean that after Activision Publishing, Inc., the firm’s interactive entertainment and games segment that produces titles like Call of Duty and Skylanders, its new KING unit would be the next-largest contributor to overall business. Note that KING is the maker of mobile games like Candy Crush and Farm Heroes. I wasn’t exactly right about this, yet, but keep reading below to see details.

Additionally, I noted that the post-acquisition geographical breakdown would be interesting to see as the two companies presented these classifications differently. After looking at operating units, we will peek at what locales are driving the firm’s new business structure as well.

The results are in for this past quarter, and revenue plus income figures across its units are as follows:

 

ATVI Segmented Revenue & Income 2016Q1

 

For context, I have tabled these actual numbers against my predictions and earlier years below. Note that the earlier figures are fiscal, and they account for KING’s earlier financials inserted alongside ATVI’s original businesses, so focus on the percentages instead of the totals as a comparison:

 

ATVI Actual Revenue & Income 2016Q1 Table

 

You’ll see that my estimates were a bit high, at least for now, as actual revenue contribution by KING is 23% while it accounts for almost 27% of income. I still think that over the next three quarters, this could increase to a third of ATVI’s overall business as mobile grows and Blizzard potentially stagnates. Unless Blizzard’s online FPS Overwatch (releasing 5/24) performs extremely well, but that’s a discussion for a different day.

Now I will present the same exact values as charts showing the percent of each in the context of the overall business. Again, everything prior to 2016Q1 is an illustration using KING’s financials inserted, as was done above:

 

ATVI Actual Revenue 2016Q1 Chart

ATVI Actual Income 2016Q1 Chart

 

The next shot is an overview of Distribution Channels from the earnings report. Quick reminder that this is how consumers purchase content and services provided by ATVI:

 

ATVI Distribution Channels 2016Q1

 

Below are these actual distribution numbers compared with  earlier fiscal numbers. Basically, these are as expected though I believe Mobile is now included in Digital which accounts for the bump:

 

ATVI Actual Distribution Channels 2016Q1 Table

One more perspective which I did not have in my earlier article is revenue by platform. I think it’s especially relevant now after KING’s contribution. You’ll see console is still the dominant platform at 53% of sales:

ATVI Revenue by Platform 2016Q1

 

As for geographical profile, a quick snapshot shows that North America is still the main contributor followed by Europe:

 

ATVI Geographical Segments 2016Q1

 

My last comparison across years, this time for percentages from different geographies:

 

ATVI Actual Geographical Segments 2016Q1 Chart

 

What these figures tell me overall is that despite KING/Mobile still being a smaller contributor than I initially anticipated, I still think it’s a key strategy going forward as its upside is more than Blizzard’s. Digital is already the main means by which consumers purchase the publisher’s games and services, so its diversification into Mobile as an additional revenue source and channel is a natural progression of its business model as a broad software publisher. This is especially relevant given my expected future decline of Blizzard subscriptions and traditional physical retail sales of ATVI’s games and software. And based on its stock price movement since the acquisition’s February close, where its shares are up more than 10%, investors seem mostly positive on this move as well.

 

ATVI Google Finance

 

In my opinion, the $5.9 billion bet on an expansion into mobile via KING is a crucial one despite its high cost. At the current rate of earnings (around $270 million per year, given this quarter’s performance), the breakeven on its KING investment is something like 22 years. However, this is conservatively assuming mobile does not grow; I think it will, which will move up that breakeven point. It will still be well worth it in the long-run. as the company diversifies its revenue streams and continues to finance more traditional projects such as console games (for instance new Call of Duty, Destiny titles) and full-price or subscription-based Blizzard entries (Overwatch, potentially new World of Warcraft content) to keep its core fanbase intact.

(Note that I do not know about any new Call of Duty, Destiny, Overwatch or World of Warcraft content other than what’s already been publicly announced. I’m just stating that new projects can be financed through sales of mobile games now that KING is assimilated into the ATVI structure.)

Do you agree that a foray into mobile was essential for ATVI, or should it have built organically from within and focused on core business such as console and subscription-based gaming platforms?

Sources: Activision Blizzard, Inc., Google Finance

-Dom

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Bottom Line: How Healthy is Nintendo’s Financial Position Ahead of Earnings & NX?

Nintendo Logo

 

Ahead of Nintendo Co., Ltd (7974) earnings release and investor conference this week, let’s take a look at the gaming firm’s financials: how healthy is it really right now before the pending formal reveal of its latest hardware piece dubbed “NX” and its move into mobile?

If internet chatter and market sentiment are to be believed, Nintendo is struggling badly. Its stock is down 30% over the past 6 months, indicating investors are nervous. But is this warranted given its current situation and future prospects?

Perhaps, but I think it’s overblown. Compared to competitors Sony Corp (6758) and Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Nintendo has smaller market capitalization and sales/income figures. But I’d argue it’s also a much more focused company that’s pure-play gaming, whereas the other two are broader corporations. When looking at strictly gaming-related figures, Nintendo’s sales are in fact lower than both though operating margin is comparable to Sony’s (Microsoft is better than both here) which indicates it doesn’t sell as well but it is actually more efficient from a profitability standpoint.

 

Comparison of Nintendo, Sony & Microsoft Gaming Segments 2

 

Edit: Caveats to above table is that Microsoft includes the following in its Computer & Gaming Hardware segment: Xbox gaming and entertainment consoles and accessories, second-party and third-party video game royalties, and Xbox Live subscriptions (“Xbox Platform”); Surface devices and accessories (“Surface”); and Microsoft PC accessories.

Additionally, it does not directly report Operating Income at its segment level but rather Gross Margin, so I have taken this figure out of the table for now. I would like to get a better estimation of Operating Income before updating again.

The main knock on Nintendo lately is that the Wii U console, released in late 2012, has been a failure. Below shows Wii U lifetime sales each fiscal year compared to both Wii and Nintendo 3DS, aligned for their launch timings. It’s true that sales of the console have been lackluster compared to recent consoles and Nintendo’s handhelds, but the success of the Nintendo 3DS in particular has supporting sales and earnings since its release in 2011.

 

Nintendo Hardware Unit Sales Launch Aligned

 

Still, you’ll notice below that from a monetary standpoint, Nintendo is actually not trending downward. In fact, it turned an operating profit in 2015 for the first time since 2011, just after peak success of the Wii (released in 2007). Its net income was also positive in 2015 compared to losses in 2014 and 2012. Sure overall sales have declined a bit over the past five years, but last year’s figure of ¥549 trillion (~$5 billion) is only around 15% lower than 2012. Additionally, taking into account its liabilities, the firm has around just under ¥100 trillion ($1 billion) of cash available which it can use to invest in future endeavors.

 

Nintendo Select Financials

Nintendo Select Financials 2

 

And Nintendo is also a software company, which is a key component of its overall business. Software sales have softened a bit over the past five years, but I expect a bump once NX is released in time for 2017 financials.

 

Nintendo Software Sales

 

Which brings me to the key going forward, as most gamers understand: Nintendo’s new NX hardware has to be a hit, its foray into mobile needs to be monetized and it needs great games in order to achieve a financial rebound. It has to differentiate NX from Wii U, similar to how Wii separated itself from its predecessor in GameCube. The way Wii had motion controls, NX needs to stand out.

Common speculation has it that the NX is a cross-over between a console and handheld, and that it will bridge the gap between home and mobile gaming plus offer an online infrastructure that is superior to the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. But Nintendo has yet to commit to any sort of messaging on the new console yet. The firm did release its first mobile game, Miitomo, this month however has yet to show any sort of monetization. It’s more of a foundation upon which to build future mobile games.

All in all, Nintendo’s current financial situation is somewhat concerning compared to recent years and its big competitors, but it’s not as dire as its stock performance or internet message boards will have you believe based on profit rebounding and cash on hand to invest in its future. Do you agree?

Sources: Nintendo Co., Ltd, Sony Corp, Microsoft Corporation, Google Finance.

Note that all figures above are based on today’s exchange rate between JPY and USD.

-Dom

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Bottom Line: Can Twitter Break Through Its Plateau & Grow?

Twitter Inc (TWTR)

Bottom Line: Between sluggishness in its user base and advertising dollars not able to outpace overall costs, what can TWTR do to jump-start growth and alleviate investor concern that it has hit a wall? How would you improve TWTR? Can the firm afford to change its service without alienating its dedicated users? See my opinion at the end of this post!

Twitter Inc (TWTR) is quite an interesting company in this day and age, as a rare “mature” social media company. Three years after its IPO, it has released its 2015 results and the news is mixed despite best efforts to jump-start growth. Which begs the question, has TWTR reached its plateau for users and revenue potential? Or will users respond positively to it adapting its strategies as it matures?

Quick snapshot, revenue is up more than 50% to $2.2 billion however the company is still losing money as it has for years (according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP, the standard used in the States). Though, it is losing less money this past year per below. I will note that the company reports “adjusted EBITDA” which is their non-GAAP measure of profit, as it excludes certain expenses.

 

TWTR Financial Summary 2015

 

Main concern is that for the first time ever, the company’s monthly average users were flat for the last quarter of 2015. Though annual users were up 9% to 320 million, this is the first time that TWTR’s user base has stagnated on a quarterly basis. Note that the vast majority of these users are outside of the United States, and in fact its users in the States declined during this time frame.

 

TWTR Monthly Users 2015

 

The firm reassures that users have since come up for the month of January, but we won’t know for sure until next quarter’s earnings. This is an essential detail, because users have been slowing down across 2015 compared with earlier years culminating in a flat quarter indicating that the firm may be hitting the dreaded plateau that maturing tech companies sometimes see. Investors have responded with skepticism, with the firm’s stock declining around 60% since beginning of 2015.

Still, like all companies, it’s about monetization. Its business is split across two areas: Advertising and Data Licensing & Other. The former segment is the main revenue driver, and grew to $2 billion last year primarily due to an increase in advertisers. Still, the company has substantial sales and marketing costs plus research and development which combine to $1.6 billion per year. It’s an example of a firm growing sales, but costs aren’t being held in-check at the same rate. It’s also interesting to me that a company like TWTR, which seems ubiquitous in today’s society, spends so much on marketing itself but perhaps this is akin to Pepsi Inc running TV ads to maintain its brand identity.

Another couple of items I’d like to mention are its young CEO Jack Dorsey returned to the firm last year and has started to reshape the look and feel of its core services, plus expand in areas like video streaming (via Periscope) and “Moments” which displays current news items and topics but is only available in three markets so far. The firm has the lofty goal to reach across the entire globe, but for some perspective, it is still small compared to a peer like Facebook which has 5 times the amount of users.

Personally, to answer my initial questions, I think the user experience is key and making it as easy as possible to on-board new users should be a cornerstone. Additionally, continuing to present itself as the go-to source for “live” interaction across a broad sweep of people with expanding “Moments” into more markets and supporting its existing video offerings is also a key strategy. I think the firm is doing a good job at integrating non-intrusive ads into its user experience and offering self-service for advertisers, it’s just that costs of doing business in particular marketing costs are still high and without further user growth, profitability and investor confidence seems a ways off.

Sources: Twitter Inc 2015Q4 Earnings, NY Times

-Dom

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Bottom Line: Disney Record Results But Market Outlook Negative?

Walt Disney Co. (DIS)

Bottom Line: Star Wars brand drove a quarter with record income for DIS, but contraction in Media Networks is a concern for analysts and investors going forward. It should be an interesting year for DIS as pipeline includes Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War, more Disney Infinity but the main areas to watch are Star Wars merchandise and the future of ESPN.

Questions: What other areas or products can drive growth for DIS this year? Are you positive overall on ESPN? Can Star Wars alone, between licensing and merchandise, abate concern with Media Networks at least this year?

Dissecting a huge media conglomerate’s financials is a monumental task, so I won’t necessarily be posting every single stat or figure but want to address the above question while overviewing the company’s current business.

DIS reported 2016Q1 earnings this week, with record net income however the market sentiment is still negative as indicated by the firm’s stock movements after earnings release. So what’s behind this divergence? The firm’s main profit drivers are Media Networks (cable channels, ABC & ESPN etc) and Studio Entertainment (movies, including Star Wars and Marvel titles) with the latter almost doubling income since last year due to Star Wars: The Force Awakens release.

DIS Segments 2016Q1

The key here is that Media Networks income contracted since last year despite sales being up, as costs are also increasing on a relative basis. Driving this is partly timing, as the College Football Playoffs occurred during this quarter, but also rate increases for sports programming and production costs going up. A general concern is the sentiment around ESPN in particular, where programming costs are up and cable subscribers are “cutting the cord” adversely impacting advertising potential. To combat this, DIS is trying to expand ESPN mobile offerings, as WatchESPN now displays all live shows and events in order to have more eyeballs on advertising. I’ve even heard rumblings that DIS should consider an approach similar to HBO Now, offering ESPN content separate from a cable contract for a subscription fee. I’d say this is a last resort, at present.

DIS Media Networks 2016Q1

DIS Studio Entertainment 2016Q1

As for gaming, the Consumer Products & Interactive Media is actually quite healthy but this of course seasonal and this quarter included holiday 2015. Revenue and income were boosted by licensing from Star Wars i.e. Star Wars: Battlefront while Disney Infinity results were lower (sales volume down, inventory up). Even compared to last year, when Frozen merch was all the rave especially with kids accumulating annual sales of $3 billion, Star Wars gear has just begun to reap benefits and Nielsen expects it to account for $5 billion in revenue across this year.

Last note is that DIS results are being propped up by the steady Parks and Resorts segment, up more than 20% since last year driven by Americas region. I see this as continuing to be a key component of the firm’s diversified approach, especially as the cable landscape changes and products/interactive media remains seasonal and dependent on the strength of content and titles.

Sources: Walt Disney Co. Form 1oQ February 9, 2016; Walt Disney Co. Q1 FY2016 Earnings; Nielsen

-Dom