Summary: Conference call transcripts are one of the most important resources used by investors to research stocks and by companies to communicate with investors. Free conference call transcripts on Seeking Alpha not only allow companies to communicate with investors, but also to access a much larger secondary audience via journalists, bloggers and inbound links to the transcripts.
Seeking Alpha is the only site on the Internet to publish hundreds of conference call transcripts for free each quarter.
Why Are Conference Call Transcripts Important?
Companies present their case to investors on their conference calls. Since the introduction of Reg. FD, companies are not allowed to communicate with investors via non-public or privileged-access channels. As a result, the volume of communication between companies and investors has fallen sharply. The most important forum left for most public companies to "tell their story" to investors is their quarterly conference call. As a result, conference call transcripts are the best way for investors to discover and research new stock ideas and to track the progress of companies they are already invested in.
Conference calls alert investors to key investment issues. The question and answer session at the end of every conference call is an opportunity for analysts to question a company about anything surprising, impressive or concerning. The Q&A session in a conference call therefore gives an instantaneous view of what analysts will focus on in their earnings coverage reports. Because Q&A sessions are unscripted, they offer a rare occasion for investors and analysts to question companies about what matters to them.
Transcripts are more useful than audio recordings. Audio has one key benefit: you can hear a speaker's tone of voice, confidence or hesitation. But aside from that, transcripts are far more useful. First, multiple companies often conduct conference calls at the same time, so the only way to track them all is to quickly read transcripts. Second, transcripts are more usable, allowing investors to focus on key sections and skip, for example, the standard legal disclaimers at the start of each call. Third, transcripts can also be printed out and read anywhere, whereas audio requires a phone or PC connection. For these reasons, institutional investors have long preferred transcripts to audio versions of conference calls.
The Benefits of Free Transcripts
Small hedge funds and most individual investors don't want to pay for transcripts. Large hedge funds tend to pay for the expensive subscription-based transcript services offered by Thompson StreetEvents and FactSet CallStreet. However, that's not true of small hedge funds and individual investors. As a result, companies who want to get their message out to these investors need to make their transcripts freely available in the place where investors will find them and look for them. This is particularly true of small cap companies, because many small hedge funds and individual investors tend to be particularly interested in small cap stocks.
Freely available transcripts provide access to journalists and bloggers. Seeking Alpha is the largest community of stock-market bloggers on the Internet. We provide transcripts for free so that money managers and other bloggers can quote from them and discuss them without fear of copyright infringement. Journalists also take advantage of our free transcripts; they have been quoted and linked to by publications as diverse as The New York Times, The Motley Fool, TheStreet.com, Red Herring, and PaidContent.org.
Transcripts on Web pages versus PDFs or Word Documents
Transcripts on web pages are more useful than transcripts in Word or PDF format. By publishing conference call transcripts on regular, open-access Web pages, Seeking Alpha allows other sites to link to the transcripts, and allows search engines to point users to the transcripts.
For example, Google Finance links to our transcripts from its stock pages. This screenshot is taken from the bottom left section of the Google Finance page for Google's own stock:
As a result, the conference call transcripts on Seeking Alpha are read not only by stock investors, but also by investment bankers, private equity investors, sell-side analysts and potential partners. Seeking Alpha welcomes this readership because we pride ourselves on being the Internet destination of choice for investment professionals, serious retail investors and industry experts.
Transcripts on Seeking Alpha
Seeking Alpha makes it easy for investors to find and discover conference call transcripts. Specifically,
- When readers search for a stock on Seeking Alpha, a section of the results page highlights the transcript for the stock in question if available.
- Readers can see the most recent transcripts published via a link on our home page and every page on SeekingAlpha.com (you can see the link to "Latest Transcripts" in the dark grey navigation bar at the top of this page).
- Our free email subscriptions allow investors to subscribe to full conference call transcripts by email.
- We link to the most recent day's transcripts in our daily One Page Annotated Wall Street Journal Summary.
What People are Saying
Former hedge fund manager and CNBC host Jim Cramer:
“The calls can be up to an hour and a half in length, but they provide the best information possible. Listen to them before you buy….. I would never own a stock unless I had listened first. This information is too vital.”
It never ceases to amaze us how little some IR departments know about their audience. What is the number one thing investors want from an earnings conference call? That’s right. A transcript of the call. A full transcript, including the Q&A. And that’s exactly what the Seeking Alpha blog network is now providing free of charge on several of its blogs... Why are only 12% of the 516 companies we track providing transcripts? Who knows for sure, but those that don’t are paying a price in lost traffic to their sites and, importantly, the perception that they are out of touch with their investors.
Blogger Monty's Bluff:
Quarterly conference calls are often a great source of information about a company and can offer insights about its management. Availability of this information really opened up for individual investors when it became possible to listen in on the web or listen to saved recordings of the conference calls. I recall making great use of these recordings when I was immersed in the biotech industry a few years back. Seeking Alpha has now taken this one step further. David Jackson, editor of Seeking Alpha, has taken it upon himself to transcribe quarterly conference calls and post them on Seeking Alpha... This site is certainly worthy of a bookmark for any active investor.
Edge Trader Blog:
...this is an excellent resource for individual investors - no more waiting through hours-long webcasts to find the nuggets of information that we are all looking for.
One of the blogs I find of great informational value is The Internet Stock Blog [now Seeking Alpha on Internet Stocks] (”news and analysis of Internet stocks, no buy or sell recommendations,” it says in its masthead). Recently, the blog started including a most useful new service - full transcripts of some of the most popular companies’ earnings conference calls. What’s especially useful is that all these transcripts are in one place, they’re free and you don’t need to register anywhere.
Money Manager and Blogger, The Stalwart:
Just spotted that Seeking Alpha has announced its intent to provide... free conference call transcripts this earnings season, all within 6 hours of each call’s completion. Democratisation of the investment world, as they rightfully put it.
Jack Cieselski, The Accounting Observer:
Way back in time, when ‘browsing’ meant ‘window-shopping,’ many firms published their own transcriptions of earnings release meetings, and sent them to analysts for free. This is something that the internet actually ruined: companies now put only the webcast of such meetings on the Internet, making it much less useful than a paper or electronic document, and they often pull the webcast after a short appearance. Transcripts are still available from expensive services, and they’re often filled with hilarious errors; I have no guarantee that the hilarious errors won’t be found in these transcripts, but at least the price is right.
Music Industry Expert's Hybebot:
Ever wish that you had a window into the inner workings of the major music and new media companies? They must know something we don't to be generating all of that money, right? Often not, but that doesn't make their plans any less interesting or instructive.
Quarterly earnings calls are often the best chance we little guys have to see what's going on inside the executive suites. Not only do they have to give their case for why is business is or isn't good, but often top stock analysts get to ask some fairly probing (although occasionally quite ignorant) questions.
Hypebot tries to keep you posted on when these calls happen. But just in case you miss them, web site Seeking Alpha is gathering transcripts of many of the top earnings calls in a central place. Warner Music Group and Napster's recent calls are posted here and more are added almost daily.
Comment: Feel free to email us with any questions.