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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: 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

 

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My Approach: Bottom Line, Limited Clutter & Discussion-Oriented

Before I dive into more substantive posts, up front I wanted to address my approach to covering the areas of gaming, media, technology and the like. My experience is in financial data and writing, and part of my process is sifting through all the numbers and boiling it down to the key points. Like any good analysis or argument, I try my best to back these thoughts up with supporting details and sources but ultimately, we all know it’s about the bottom line.

With that in mind, I like to isolate the driving factors behind a certain result or trend. For instance, which underlying business is driving a company’s performance? Why is a game selling well in one region and not another? Should a company diversify across hardware and software, or will the cost outweigh benefits? Sure these are complex matters, but getting caught up in the minutiae is not something I’d like to do.

Note I won’t be striving for covering 24/7 news, or live blogging, or merely presenting statements or numbers without any context. Rather I’d like to drum up discussion. Am I missing something? Do you agree or disagree? As people, we all come from different backgrounds and perspectives so let’s express those viewpoints. As I noted in my first post and my bio, I realize this is the internet and it’s ambitious to think all our chats will be constructive. This is my hope here, and we can go from there!

-Dom

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Introducing Working Casual: Gaming, Media & Tech Blog

Hi all! I know it’s looking basic at this point, but bear with me while I settle in to my new blog. Welcome to Working Casual: Gaming, Media & Tech Blog! Written by yours truly, DomsPlaying (just Dom is fine).

As noted in the sidebar, this is a place where I’d like to interact with the community to discuss video games, the gaming industry and related businesses including media and technology in a way that we all can understand.

My background covers both these various industries and research, business and analysis as I have degrees in both Economics and Journalism & Media Studies, and currently work in the financial data field with hobbies of gaming, following digital media and keeping up on the latest technology. I had a brief foray into blogging earlier in my career, and have been meaning to revisit this interest as the medium evolves and digital media industry expands overall. Not to mention I need to use those writing skills! On a personal level, I’m based in the Tri-State and come from a family-oriented, Italian-American background that loves good food and fun times together.

So ultimately I would like to initiate discussions on topics related to all of these, and provide perspective while also chatting about the games I’m playing, media stories I’m following and technology I’m using. I know that’s ambitious for the internet, but let’s roll with it for now.

I look forward to expanding on this first post, and meeting like-minded folks that have similar interests. Thanks for reading, and feel free to reach out via social media links to the right or email as I’m always open for a good chat or debate.

-Dom