YuMe's CEO Discusses Q4 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Feb.27.14 | About: YuMe, Inc. (YUME)

YuMe, Inc. (NYSE:YUME)

Q4 2013 Earnings Conference Call

February 27, 2014 5:00 PM ET


Gary Fuges – VP, IR

Jayant Kadambi – Co-Founder and CEO

Tim Laehy – CFO


Gene Munster – Piper Jaffray

Lloyd Walmsley – Deutsche Bank

Mark May – Citigroup

Kerry Rice – Needham & Company


Good day, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the YuMe Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2013 Earnings Conference Call. During today’s presentation all parties will be in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation, the conference will be opened for questions. (Operator Instructions) This conference is being recorded today, February, 27, 2014.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Gary Fuges, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead sir.

Gary Fuges

Thank you, Cole, and good afternoon and welcome to YuMe’s fourth quarter and full year 2013 financial results conference call. Joining me on the call today are Jayant Kadambi, Chief Executive Officer; and Tim Laehy, Chief Financial Officer.

This call contains predictions, estimates and other information that might be considered forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements involve various known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from the results and timing expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Reported results should not be considered an indication of future performance. We make these statements as of February 27, 2017 and YuMe undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

We refer you to our SEC filings for discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, including the section titled Risk Factors in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2013 that has been filed with the SEC and future filings and reports with the SEC including our Annual Report on Form-10K.

Also I’d like to remind you that during the course of this conference call, we will discuss both GAAP and non-GAAP measures in talking about the company’s performance. Reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures are provided in the press release that was released after the close today.

With that, I’d like to turn the call over to Mr. Jayant Kadambi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of YuMe.

Jayant Kadambi

Thank you, and good afternoon. I’ll start with some high level comments about our Q4 and 2013 results. Tim will then review the Q4 numbers and our outlook in greater detail, and then I’ll complete our prepared remarks with an update on our 2014 strategic initiatives, including the launch of our programmatic offerings. We’ll then take your questions.

Q4 revenue was $54 million, below our expectations, but still a healthy growth rate. Excluding the impact of election related spending in the year ago quarter, Q4 year-over-year growth was a robust 30%. In addition to the growth in the business, we had strong gross margin and adjusted EBITDA performance as our technology differentiation continue to drive the business model.

Gross margin of 48.1% benefited from the efficacy and performance of our PQI Inventory Quality Scoring Algorithms. Due in part to the strong gross margin performance, Q4 adjusted EBITDA was $8.3 million.

As we discussed in our last conference call, most of our revenue is driven by our strong presence in the scatter advertising market. During the last six weeks of calendar Q4, this marketplace has above average fluctuations in demand, even when taking into account normal seasonality.

Over the prior two years, we’ve had positive spikes in Q4 demand, but in this quarter we did not see the same spikes to the degree we’ve seen in the recent past. However, coming into Q1, growth is accelerating which bodes well for a strong 2014. Demand for our product remains high, which is driving the continued 30% plus revenue in our Q1 and our strong full year 2014 outlook.

2013 was another great year for YuMe, which included strong financial performance and continued investment in the business to expand our technology leadership and positioned ourselves for continued growth.

2013 financial highlights include; revenue growth of 30%, gross margin expansion and adjusted EBITDA and EPS profitability. Excluding the impact of the presidential election revenue in 2012, year-over-year revenue growth was healthy 36%. Due to our technology differentiation and market leadership position, we succeeded in building long-standing relationships with major brand advertisers, many of whom have spent significant amounts with us over the last three years.

For example, we have 72 advertiser customers who have spent more than $1 million since starting with us in 2010, and 10 who have spent over $5 million with us over this time horizon. We believe this speaks to the power of our solution set and to the opportunity we have to scale with advertisers who joined us recently.

As advertisers starts to work with us and benefit from our capabilities, they increase their spending with us over time.

One of the drivers of our success with advertisers is our ability to satisfy their increasing demand for TV-style demo-targeted audience guarantee campaigns and audience segment campaigns. We were clearly a beneficiary of this trend. For example, we are currently running over 20 of these campaigns with seven different advertising customers, all while maintaining our margin profiles.

This is a result of our continued investment in building a best brand proxy for success, which is based on a machine learning algorithms that leverage the massive amounts of unique data mind from our SDKs.

For example in 2013, we worked with major agencies like MediaStorm and major advertisers like NBC Universal to extend their campaigns reach and target viewers beyond the desktop in this regard. In 2013, we also launched household targeting in the U.S. and U.K. and made significant enhancements to our PQI algorithm, the results of which you can see in our performance.

We also introduced an updated version of our Audience-Aware SDK and launched our next generation data sciences capabilities to allow us to better measure audience attention and build audience segments that serve the specific needs of our TV advertisers.

Finally, due to the fact that our Audience-Aware SDK and unique in-stream survey capabilities allow us to have a combination of billions of data points and first-party data, we believe we continue to lead the industry in providing leaps and scale with accurate multi-screen audience targeting methodologies.

Given the video market’s continued device fragmentation, we strongly believe that our ability to target across streams combined with our audience segments and audience attention capabilities will provide us the best results for TV advertisers going forward. We will continue to invest in our product portfolio as investments today have been the foundation of our strong growth environment.

Though we generally sell by audience and not by device, our multi-screen expertise is evident in our growth in mobile and connected TV where we saw 47% growth in 2013.

We also saw an increase of 130% in campaigns that use more than two screens. We believe we are the clear leader in delivering brand video campaigns across multiple screens.

The technology enhancements we implemented in 2013 have improved our competitive positioning in the marketplace. Specifically, we believe we have three distinct points of differentiations. First, we quantitatively affect inventory quality for campaign using PQI, which allows us to better match campaigns with inventory and drive sustainable margins. Second, our unique platform also allows us to measure audience attention to give advertisers confidence that their message is resonating with digital video audiences, who are more distracted. And third, we seamlessly deliver campaigns without solely relying on cookies.

This allows us to drive scale across highly fragmented audiences that are consuming more and more digital video content on smartphone and tablet apps and internet connected televisions where browsers do not exist.

We believe no one else in the market has this set of capabilities, and we use them to optimize campaigns to the metrics brand advertisers care about most. As a result, YuMe’s digital video campaigns are truly complementary to TV advertisement.

In 2013, we also continued our international expansion with new offices in the Nordics and Germany that joined our existing European operations in the U.K. France and Spain. Finally, we began to work on our programmatic offerings to expand our market opportunity and better serve brand advertisers who seek to purchase brand video through alternative distribution channels.

Earlier this month, we announced the hiring of Head of Sales for training desks and other areas of programmatic demand. We expect that our strong 2013 performance will continue into 2014, as we continue to see strength in our business and in the long-term fundamentals of our market, including the demand for demo-targeting and audience guarantees.

As a result, we will be investing heavily in 2014 in key product enhancements, international expansion and our entry into the programmatic channels. I’ll talk more about these 2014 initiatives that will place us in a stronger position for 2015 and beyond, but first I’ll pass the call over to Tim, who will discuss Q4 results and our outlook for Q1 and the full year of 2014. Tim?

Tim Laehy

Thank you, Jayant. I’ll review the financial results for the quarter, and then discuss our outlook for Q1 and for the full year 2014. As Jayant mentioned, even with a tough comp through the election year in 2012, revenue in Q4 increased 19% year-over-year to $54 million. Excluding the impact of the election year political ad spending in the year ago quarter, revenue increased to healthy 30% year-over-year.

Advertiser growth in Q4 was particularly strong, up 38% in Q4, 2013, to 367 advertising customers. For all of 2013, we worked with 580 total advertising customers, an increase of 29% from 2012. Our top 20 advertisers accounted for 41% of our revenue in 2013, compared to 50% in 2012, illustrating the increased diversity of our revenue base.

Average revenue per advertiser customer was $255,000 in 2013, compared to $257,000 in 2012, which reflects the impact of those newer advertisers who typically start up spending at lower levels than long-term customers. We continue to expect our growth in customer base to be one of our primary drivers of revenue in the short-term.

Gross margin of 48.1% increased 60 basis points sequentially, demonstrating the continued positive impact of our PQI Inventory Quality Scoring Algorithm in our model. Total operating expenses for the quarter increased 43% year-over-year, as we invested for future growth.

Sales and marketing expenses increased 59%, primarily due to the increase in employee-related expenses as we further expand our domestic and international sales organizations.

Research and development expenses increased 62% year-over-year, primarily due to the hiring and our continued investment in data sciences. G&A increased 4% year-over-year, reflecting the impact of expenses in the year ago period associated with our IPO preparations.

Adjusted EBITDA was $8.3 million in the quarter. Due to the continued gross margin strength and the shifting to some hiring and other operating expenses in the 2014, they are associated with our long-term growth initiatives.

Adjusted EBITDA margin for the quarter was 15.3%. Net income attributable to common shareholders was $0.16 per diluted share in the quarter, compared to $0.06 per diluted share in the year ago period.

For full-year 2013, revenue was $151.1 million, an increase of 30% from the prior year. Excluding the impact of the presidential election revenue in 2012, year-over-year growth was even stronger at 36%. Gross margin of 46.9% for the year increased 90 basis points from the full year 2012 and adjusted EBITDA was $9 million, with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 5.9%. We ended the year with $54.1 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities.

Before I turn the call back over to Jayant, I’d like to review our guidance for the first quarter and for the full year 2014. For the first quarter, we expect revenue to be in the range of $35 million to $36 million. We expect gross margin to remain in the upper half of our 46% to 48% long-term operating model range. We anticipate Q1 adjusted EBITDA in the range of negative $4 million to negative $3 million.

For the full year 2014, we expect revenue in the range of $190 million to $200 million. Revenue guidance is based on our existing base of business and assumes that our programmatic launch and other 2014 strategic initiatives will contribute immaterial amounts to the revenue in 2014.

Additionally, we expect 2014 revenues seasonality to resemble the pattern we saw in 2013. We expect gross margins to continue to be in the 46% to 48% range, and we anticipate adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of $2 million to $8 million, which reflects greater investment in our long-term growth initiatives.

In summary, we had a successful 2013 and we believe we are well positioned for another great year in 2014. We continue to have great confidence in the business and believe that YuMe’s fundamentals remain strong.

With that, I’ll turn the call back over to Jayant.

Jayant Kadambi

Thank you, Tim. We’re playing in a huge global market, and we are in it for the long haul. We believe that our unique combination of technology and data sciences will continue to differentiate us with TV brand advertisers. We’re proving with each campaign that our proxy for brand success works, because it’s based on a differentiated technology and low-class data sciences that are built for this distractive fragmented and multi-screen digital video world in which we live.

In 2014, we will invest in the business to capitalize on the market growth, whilst driving to be go-to aggregation play in digital video for TV brand advertisers. Specifically we will focus on three key areas; continued investment in our technology and data sciences, further international expansion and the initial launch of our programmatic initiatives.

We’ve had great success to-date with our unique TV-style cross-platform audience segment products. And in 2014, we will continue to invest in our technology and data sciences capabilities to further differentiate this offering and support future growth. Because our technology enables targeting without relying solely on cookies, we can help advertisers engage their audiences on smartphones, tablets and connected televisions where they otherwise couldn’t.

We plan to rollout additional product enhancements that further supports TV-style audience segment targeting in buying and more cross-platform SDK development to increase the scale and uniqueness of our data.

This relentless focus on brand-based data analysis will help us deliver the best proxy for TV branding metrics.

We will also continue to expand internationally for the long-term. In 2014, we laid a ground mark for YuMe China and in Latin America. We’ve recently hired a country manager in China and have begun to build our presence in Latin America.

Finally, we continue to invest in our programmatic offerings, which we are building on top of our existing platform. We will focus initially on video brand spending being deployed at agency and major advertiser trading desks, which we view as a budget that is complementary to our existing model.

We will also continue to invest in our capabilities to make sure our platform can support both trading desk integrations as well as programmatic third-party inventory sources.

We believe successful execution on these initiatives will position us for continued growth in 2015 and beyond. And as Tim mentioned, our 2014 outlook does not rely on a material amount of revenue from these new strategic initiatives.

In summary, we’ve had a strong 2013 and we’re confident in our ability to capitalize on our market opportunity in digital video brand advertising. We have a competitive differentiation due to our huge datasets, which gives us the unique ability to algorithm increase score inventory quality, measure audience attention, combat the distractions related to the digital video fragmentation and target without relying solely on cookies.

In 2014, we will invest significantly in the business and we have confidence in our ability to capitalize on the markets growth, and continue to be the perfect digital complement to TV advertising.

Thank you for your attention. And we’ll now take your questions.

Question-and-Answer Session


Thank you sir. We will now begin the question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) One moment please for our first question. And our first question comes from the line of Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray. Please go ahead.

Gene Munster – Piper Jaffray

Hi guys. Jayant, I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about how you guys think you can use the SDK and PQI as you move into programmatic. Could you just talk a little bit about how that will give you an advantage as you start to bid real-time? Thank you.

Jayant Kadambi

Yes, we think people who buy through programmatic channels also require the data analysis that we can provide to enhance the frequency of the customers they reach, enhance the reach and generally enhance the attention and the quality of the people they reach. And our fundamental premise here has been from the beginning and continues to be that this business – because it’s fragmented and because video is being watched on all these different devices, it’s about collecting the data through the SDK, analyzing it and providing the right information to the customer.

And so we believe even with programmatic channels that the data analysis is key for the requirements that they have.

Gene Munster – Piper Jaffray

And maybe one quick follow-up. Could you just remind us in terms of timing when you guys think the programmatic platform you might start seeing some more meaningful contributions in that? Thank you.

Jayant Kadambi

Yes, absolutely. So we’re investing in it now from a technology perspective. I think as I mentioned at the last call, we have portions of it operational and we continue to run it. We’ve hired now a team to start putting it together and go-to-market with it. So we believe we’ll be able to provide better guidance on how things are going in terms of material contributions to revenue in couple of quarters.


Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Ross Sandler with Deutsche Bank. Please go ahead.

Lloyd Walmsley – Deutsche Bank

Hi guys. It’s Lloyd in for Ross. I’m wondering if you guys can just give us a little bit more color on what you think was behind the scatter weakness in the quarter, and then what you think might be driving what sounds like a little bit better trend early in the quarter, and then if I may on the programmatic. It sounds like you’re not expecting a lot of contribution there for this year. Can you guys just give us a sense of what are some of the key challenges in that transition, and then a little bit more color on the go-to-market strategy as you finish building it out?

Jayant Kadambi

Hi, Lloyd, it’s Jayant. Yes, so I’ll – if I forget one of your questions, please remind me. So I think you asked about the Q4 scatter. So we’ve said it before and we’ll reiterate it here. Q4, the last six weeks are just very, very volatile. And in the previous years, we were the beneficiary of pretty large spikes that we had built into the expectations that didn’t come in. We had customers that spend in Q3, who didn’t spend in Q4, but are now spending again in Q1. So we think it was a phenomenon that was just related fundamentally to the time at hand.

As part of our 2014 guidance, we have been more conservative in the amount of revenue that will come in the last six weeks of the quarter. So we booked that into the forecast from the scatter perspective. We haven’t – as we gave you the long-term customer numbers, our long-term customer churn remains close to zero, and revenue growth for the top customers continues to grow, so we feel very good about all of that.

Now on the programmatic. I think you wanted a little bit of color on the go-to-market strategy and the challenges we face. So in terms of the go-to-market strategy, I think we will be announcing our go-to-market strategy pretty soon. So essentially, we will provide a set of functions and features for the programmatic products and the sales strategy to the market for that. So I’ll ask you to just hold on for a few weeks to see that.

In terms of challenges, every time – and this is why we’re being cautious, every time you go into a new business or a new distribution channel, there is things to learn. There is a lot of technology integrations that needs to get done. There is a lot of differences in terms of the type of supply that is running to these channels. The buying methodologies are different. So there is a lot to learn. So we’re just taking a cautious approach and building it one step at a time, but we generally feel very, very confident about it, and feel good about the fact that our current existing base continues to demand what we have been selling through that channel, and we see a strong differentiation between the two.

I hope I answered both of your questions.

Lloyd Walmsley – Deutsche Bank

Yes, that was really helpful. Thanks.


Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Mark May with Citigroup. Please go ahead. Mr. May your line is open.

Mark May – Citigroup

Sorry about that. Thanks for taking my questions. Sticking on the programmatic theme. Obviously your programmatic has been gaining share on the display side. It does maybe seem to be gaining some stream [ph] and video. I’m wondering is that what you are seeing as well, and is that what’s kind of triggering your decision to enter this market now? And then also, it’s probably a basic question so I apologize, but are you guys – when it comes to programmatic, the way you’re going to be leveraging these exchange markets, is it sourcing inventory to fulfill campaigns that you’re working for an advertiser client, or are your leveraging the exchanges to sell your publisher partner inventory? Thanks.

Jayant Kadambi

Hi Mark. I’ll take that in reverse order if you don’t mind. From the way we’re hoping into the platform for programmatic is we’re going to be sourcing inventory to the extent that we needed from exchanges. We continue to believe that the best way to source inventory is through our existing business development efforts, because we can leverage the power of the SDKs. For certain cases and certain clients, exchange inventory is also a way to increase the supply, so we’ll be doing that.

I think there is some noise on the line.

Mark May – Citigroup

Okay. Yes, I know that. That definitely answers it. And are you seeing the programmatic segment of video kind of beginning of take share or making roads and that’s kind of what has driven your decision to enter the market now?

Jayant Kadambi

No. I mean look, this is a very, very big market. I think we believe that people are buying or will buy into a large market through different distribution channels. We believe that there is the place for programmatic buying as well as direct sales buying. We are not seeing any movement towards our TV that we feel is infringing or impinging on our existing business. That’s why the growth rates remain strong and that’s why our guidance remains the way it is.

We view this as a long-term gain in which we want to increase the growth of the company and take – and become a large, if not, the biggest aggregation player to be in this market over the long-term and we’re investing. So that’s the way we’re looking at it is, but we have a product to sell. So right thing to do is to selling through many products – as many channels and also the products typical [ph] for the channels.

Mark May – Citigroup

Okay, that makes sense. Can I ask a follow-up on a different topic? You talked about some strong recurring customer trends. I don’t know if there are any metrics you could share in terms of repeat spend in growth or anything of that sort?

Jayant Kadambi

So our top – the diversity of our business has increased. I think Tim mentioned in his section as the top 20 customers have gone from, so the 50 something percent – 51% to 41% or so of our total business. The top 20 customers have grown by about 6%. At the same time, we’ve grown in the last year the number of customers by 150. So you see the average revenue per customer staying about flat. So that’s just reflected the fact that there is strong retention and strong growth across the whole customer base. So we feel good about that as well.

Mark May – Citigroup

Okay, thanks.


(Operator Instructions) And our next question comes from the line of Kerry Rice with Needham & Company. Please go ahead.

Kerry Rice – Needham & Company

Thanks. Just kind of want to again kind of revisit the Q4 weakness, and maybe couple of different perspectives here. So from our analysis, it seems like customer ads was pretty much in line with what we are expecting, but the spend for customer was a little lower. So I don’t know if you could add some color around, is it just the fact that you had a number of new customers and that obviously has lower spending, or if there was some slowdown in spending from existing customers, or were you expecting more customer ads in Q4? And then kind of other side of that is, do you think that spending that had been spiked – that spiked last year and you didn’t see this year, do you think that went necessarily to somewhere else you mentioned that you didn’t think programmatic was really the culprit, but do you think it was going to more of the TV advertising websites like the cbs.com or something like that? And then I just wanted to ask, you had mentioned the growth in two screens, 130% growth in campaigns that focus on two screens. Can you talk a little bit more about what you’re seeing in mobile, and is that mobile and tablet, but maybe add some additional color around that growth?

Jayant Kadambi

Sure. So I’ll take that in reverse order. And Kerry, let me know if I forgot the first part of the question when I do in reverse order. As we said in our prepared comments, we continue to sell by audiences, we [indiscernible] audiences. And our growth numbers in our commentary about mobile connected television and tablets is just a reflection of where people are watching content.

The fragmentation in this business is so strong that in the mobile, tablet and connect TV sphere, that’s just sort of organically to increase reach and frequency, more video impressions from an ad perspective are placed on those devices. So we continue to use three screens and four screens, as many screens as best as possible so that we can increase the frequency as well as the reach, and you will see us continue to do that. So hopefully that answers the question on mobile and tablets.

In general though, mobile and tablets is – and you’ve seen this everywhere, and we collaborated, it is just growing very, very strongly, just the usage.

Some little bit more color on the Q4 point. We have no indication that spending moved from us to another provider. As I said, we’ve looked at the customer lists from Q2, Q3 and Q4, but any customer that spends a little less in Q4 is back in Q1. Q1 is seasonally adjusted to the numbers that we’ve given you. As we said earlier, we’ve not see any churn at all. So we feel very, very good about where we are in Q1 and the guidance that we’ve given as well as the full year guidance based on the data that we have.

Kerry Rice – Needham & Company

Yes. And I think one of the parts of my question too maybe if you can help add some color around is, just spend per customer. Is that lower level was just the impact of more new customers in the quarter, or just across the board did you see just less?

Jayant Kadambi

Yes, sorry Kerry, I forgot that one. Yes, the customer growth rate in Q4 that we gave in our prepared comments was as per our expectations. We think it’s a healthy cliff for both a yearly basis and a quarterly basis. We continue to attract new customers. I think Tim said in his prepared comments that we continue to believe that new customer growth will be the primary driver of our revenue. So the average revenue per customer is flat because of the rate of the new customers and they are starting out early because both, the new customer starts out early and on the international markets, they start out with smaller buys.

Kerry Rice – Needham & Company

Thank you.


And I am showing no further questions at this time. I’d like to turn the call back over to management for closing remarks.

Jayant Kadambi

Thank you again for your interest in YuMe. We are confident in our ability to deliver on our 2014 financial outlook and growth initiatives. The market remains strong for us and we built a differentiated solution for the specific needs of TV brand advertisers in the multi-screen digital video market that drives results.

We are optimistic that we can continue to capitalize on the secular growth trends in digital video advertising, and drive sustainable margins through our differentiated technology platform. We look forward to seeing you at upcoming investor conferences and appreciate your continued support. Have a good afternoon. Thank you.


Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes the YuMe fourth quarter fiscal year 2013 earnings conference call. This conference will be available for replay after 6:30 Eastern Time today through March 6, 2014 at midnight Eastern Time. You may access the replay system at any time by dialing (303) 590-3030 or 1 (800) 406-7325 and entering the access code of 4667640 followed by the pound sign. Thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect.

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