Tremor Video's (TRMR) CEO Bill Day on Q1 2014 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

| About: Tremor Video (TRMR)

Tremor Video, Inc. (NYSE:TRMR)

Q1 2014 Earnings Conference Call

May 06, 2014 4:30 PM ET


Andrew Posen – Senior Director-Investor Relations

Bill Day – Chief Executive Officer

Todd Sloan – Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer


Brian P. Fitzgerald – Jefferies LLC

Jason S. Helfstein – Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.

Yoni Yadgaran – Credit Suisse Securities LLC

Michael Graham – Canaccord Genuity, Inc.


Greetings ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Tremor Video First Quarter 2014 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. (Operator Instructions)

As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I’d now like to turn the conference over to your host Mr. Andrew Posen. Thank you, sir you may begin.

Andrew Posen

Good afternoon. Welcome to Tremor Video's first quarter 2014 earnings call. Joining me today to discuss our results are Bill Day, President and CEO; and Todd Sloan, CFO.

Before we begin, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you that during the course of this call, management will make forward-looking statements which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Actual results and the timing of certain events may differ materially from the results or timing predicted or implied by such forward-looking statements and reported results should not be considered as an indication of future performance.

Further information regarding the factors that could affect the Company's financial results is included in filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time, including the section entitled Risk Factors and the Company's 10-K filed with the SEC on March 28, 2014 and future filings and reports by the Company including its Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2014.

Also, I’d like to remind you that during the course of this conference call, we will discuss non-GAAP measures and talking about the Company's performance. Reconciliations to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures are provided in the tables in the press release, which is available on our Web site. This conference call is also being broadcast on the Internet and is available through the Investor Relations section of the Tremor Video website.

And now, I'll turn the call over to Bill Day, Tremor Video's President and CEO.

Bill Day

Thanks, Andrew and welcome to our first quarter 2014 earnings call. I’m pleased with our announced results that were meaningfully ahead of our guidance on revenue on adjusted EBITDA.

In Q1 we’ve reported $34.9 million in revenue, a 41% increase from the prior year period. For the quarter adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $4.6 million, reflecting our ongoing investments in our technology and premium publisher partnerships and our continued pursuit of television dollars. While we’re happy with Q1 growth we continue to encourage you to look at our business on an annualized basis due to the typical fluctuations of advertising expense.

Now, I’d like to update you on the progress that we’re making towards our goal of providing a complete programmatic solutions to drive brand performance across all screens. We believe this strategy furthers our ability to offer clients in most of affective solution in the market to manage the challenges increasingly brought on by device fragmentation. In April, we announced the launch of the first automated all-screen optimization solution for video advertising.

Advertisers using our patented technology VideoHub, simply to clear a campaign goal and allow VideoHub to programmatically deliver ads, where they work most effectively, whether on desktop, tablets, smart phones, or connected TVs. This means that strategists and buyers no longer need to predict the right amount of their budget to allocate to each screen, but instead let our technology deliver the optimal mix across all devices.

We believe the Tremor video is the first and only video technology company that price, target, optimize and report on video campaigns across all devices with a single placer. We’re off to a great with a total of 31 brand advertisers currently utilizing our all-screen technology including Six Flags and Media Storm our pilot partners.

This is the last quarter that we’ll breakout simply mobile revenue, beginning in Q2, we’ll report the percent of spend purchased to run against all screens. As you know our technology often uses proprietary signals for targeting in optimization decisions. The value of social media data in this ongoing effort cannot be understated.

That is why we establish an exclusive partnership with Affinity Answers, the social media affinities tracking firm, which will allow VideoHub to target consumers who have a higher propensity to purchase our clients brands.

At the core of this innovative initiative is mutual affinity between people and the brands they love and our ability to effectively target video ads based on these affinities. Last quarter, we told you that several clients are beta testing our DSP technology. In Q2 we are live, the clients buying against goals including standard digital metrics such as Click Through Rates or completions. But more importantly our DSP offers target and against brand health goals such as engagement and competitive preference.

The launch of our VideoHub DSP allows us offer brand performance to our clients in whatever form they want to buy it. Whether as a self service platform or as a managed service through our direct sales force. Look for an official DSP launch party later in Q2.

I believe that our revenue growth of over 40% in Q1 despite the fact that our programmatic initiatives are just starting to ramp up, underscores a strong appetite for our brand performance solutions. Our VideoHub DSP full pack solution includes data serving, analytics and buying. Clients are using our tools to support programmatic buying balancing the three key variables essential for brand advertising; reach, price and brand performance. Brand performance includes add viewability.

Tremor Video still has the only streaming video, viewability solution accredited by the Media Ratings Council. And users of our platform have access to our eQ score, which lets a buyer ranking comparative viewablity, player size and completion rate for the add impressions they deliver across the entirety of their buy.

Some additional exciting programmatic news, in response to strong demand from our premium publisher partners we intend to launching a supply side platform or SSP later this year. This SSP will offer premium publishers a three things they seek most, the trusted partner to bring them complementary demand for their sales team, which we’ve been doing for years. Analytics and the performances of the directly sold campaigns so they can negotiate better with buyers and a platform that simplified their internal work flow and automates our sales efforts programmatically.

We believe we are in a unique position of providers offering given our deep and often exclusive relationships with premium publisher partners. In Q1, we further expanded our premium content and publisher roster, adding an exclusive partnership with PUCV. In addition, Twitch joined our growing number of cost free partnerships. And packed all network were inline for both mobile and desktop.

As you know, we have exclusive relationships with over 200 premium publishers across all screens which ensures that our clients have access to the best environment to promote the strongest brand performance out there ads. We are actively working to extend these relationships, to accomplish all of our programmatic offerings as well. In conclusion, I like to underscore that we believe that the major market, what we believe is the major market opportunity for Tremor Video.

40 years ago, video advertising was nascent even on desktops and $1.4 billion. Today e-marketers forecasting a $6 billion video market for 2014 which acceleration to more than $12 billion by 2018 half of that being mobile. We expect TV advertisers to power this tremendous growth and both advertisers and publishers are pushing to improve their brand effectiveness and preparedness.

We believe that our strategically -– we are well positioned strategically to capitalize on its trend by our patented VideoHub technology platform, deep partnerships with brand advertisers and premium publishers of TV content and our growing programmatic capabilities.

With that I’ll turn the call over to Todd, to take you through this quarter’s financial results in more detail.

Todd Sloan

Thanks Bill and thanks everyone for joining us today as we show our Q1 highlights and financial results.

We spend a few minutes walking you through the drivers of the quarter, before I provide guidance for Q2 and update our full year 2014. Our results this quarter, reflect the steady improvements and investments that we are making across our business. We are focused on offering brand advertisers of full stack of buying solutions that enable them to achieve their brand objectives.

This array of product solutions has varying characteristics in margin profiles. Our investments at off-screen technology and our programmatic initiatives underscore this commitment and position us well to capture video adverting spend and whatever phone brand advertisers use.

Our revenue for Q1 was $34.9 million, an increase of 41% compared to $24.8 million in Q1 last year. The first quarter 23% of revenue was from performance based products roughly inline with a percent we saw in the second half of 2013. Demo buying continues to take spend from higher margin performance based products in the short-term. However, in Q2 we are achieving a better sales mix with revenue contribution from performance based products.

We are also seeing incremental improvements in our ability to optimize campaign delivery for demo buyers. These improvements are reflected in the sequential increase in our gross margin this quarter 34.2% up from 33.7% in Q4.

Mobile revenue was 13% of total revenue was in the quarter, compared to 9% of revenue in the same quarter last year. As Bill said earlier, this is the last quarter where we will be separately reporting our mobile revenue percentage, going forward we will be focusing on the contribution from our all screens initiative.

Adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $4.6 million in the quarter, compared to adjusted EBITDA loss of $2.8 million in Q1, 2013. Net loss was $7.2 million, compared to net loss of $5.2 million in Q1 of 2013. Basic and diluted net loss per share was $0.14 compared to $0.67 per share in Q1, 2013.

Non-GAAP basic and diluted adjusted EBITDA per share was a loss of $0.09 per share, compared to $0.36 per share in Q1, 2013. Basic and diluted net loss per share for Q1, 2014 is based on $50.3 million weighted average shares of common stock outstanding, as of March 31, 2014. Basic and diluted net loss per share for Q1, 2013 was based on $7.7 million weighted average shares of common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2013.

I would like to highlight a few non financial operating metrics driving our financial results. Our media revenue is influenced by impression volume and when we saw impression volume increased by 76% in Q1 this year versus Q1 2013. Excluding demo buys our eCPMs decreased by 7% from the same period last year. As brand advertisers look for varied ways to meet their objectives their campaigns are taking on a broader dispersion of price points and our product sweep will now accommodate all variations.

In the last 12 months revenue ending Q1, 2014 our retention rate for existing clients was 85%. This compares to 80% from the prior year’s last 12 months revenue ending Q1, 2013. The average spend per count also trended higher on a rolling 12 month basis ending Q1 2014, we saw average spend for account increased 22% for the same 12 month period last year.

Now I’d like to discuss our key operating metrics. Total operating expenses during the quarter including stock-based compensation increased on an absolute dollar basis, compared to the prior year’s period from $16 million to $19 million. But as a percentage of revenue, decreased from 64% to 55%. Similarly our G&A and sales and marketing expense while rising on an absolute dollar basis declined as a percentage of revenue from 12% and 36% to 11% and 27% respectively. These results highlight the leverage that we have been able to achieve in these categories.

Technology and development costs were $4.3 million for the quarter or 12% of revenue compared to $2.7 million in the same period last year or a 11% of revenue, reflecting our continued investment in our platform and technology initiatives. Importantly, note that technology and development expenses increased by 61% compared to the prior quarter while sales and marketing and G&A expenses increased by only 7% and 27% compared to the prior year period to the prior year period respectively.

I’d like to finish our call with our thoughts regarding financial expectations for the second quarter and an update on our views for the full year. For the second quarter we expect revenue to be in the range of $39 million to $41 million and non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA in the range of a loss of $5.8 million to $4.8 million. Weighted average basic share count is estimated to be $50.5 million for the quarter. For the full year, we are increasing our revenue guidance to be in the range of $158 million to $163 million, up from the previous range of $155 million to $160 million.

We are keeping our expectations for non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA loss for the year consistent with what we provided last quarter in the range of $11 million to $8 million loss. 2014 is a year of continued investment. While we estimate revenue to increase, it will be offset by continued investment in technology development efforts and increased spend in high-quality inventory from premium publishers. Weighted average basis share count is estimated be $50.8 million for the full year.

In summary, we’re off to a very strong start to the year and we’re very excited about our results and the strategic initiatives we have recently announced. We believe that our new all screen capabilities, our recently launched GSP, our upcoming SSP and the increasingly strategic partnership with brand name content companies put us in a great competitive position for the remainder of 2014.

Thank you for joining us today. We will now open the line for questions. Operator?

Question-and-Answer Session


Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from the line of Brian Fitzgerald with Jefferies. Please proceed with your question.

Brian P. Fitzgerald – Jefferies LLC

Thanks, guys. I wanted to drill down a bit on different types of advertisers, different verticals which are more prone or be attractive to engagement versus non-engagement. And then, maybe could you also give us a general sense of kind of your breaks by vertical composition business-wise?

Bill Day

Sure. That’s great. So historically we did see a dispersion between verticals that were maybe more prone to adopting the engagement model. And so the greatest example there is the entertainment vertical really where a ton of our business is priced through a performance model, whether it’s engagement or video complete or viewable, 100% viewable and 100% complete. There are just a number of different models that selling strongly into the entertainment vertical. And I think I’ve said this in the past that between YouTube and Tremor Videos’ entertainment offering a big chunk of the total entertainment is spend in video travels between those two companies.

The thing we’ve seen in the last year really is engagement and now Cost-Per-Shift and Cost-Per-Conquest start to become more evenly distributed across many of clients. And so, whether that’s automotive or package goods retail, we’ve seen it across the board. So really now comes down to an issue, I think, of whether that particular pricing model resonates with the buyer and what they’re trying to achieve on an individual campaign as opposed to it being driven by one vertical and another.

From a vertical breakdown standpoint, I mean, I just comment a little bit on color and then I’ll let Todd sort of layout the overall picture from a color standpoint. Q1 was a strong quarter, but particularly packaged goods, so CPG an entertainment being particularly strong the call out in terms of success driving Q1 over achievement.

Todd, you want to add anything to that in terms of the overall layout.

Todd Sloan

Yes. So, one thing that we’ve always emphasized is that we’re very diversified across many different verticals. The largest for us is CPG, but even in CPG there is so much diversifications, it breaks down into the health and beauty, it breaks down into food and beverage and beneath those categories break down for pretty heavily. So CPG is the largest for us. We also have a very large presence and entertainment for a number of reasons, one of which Bill just highlighted.

We also have a solid presence in auto and in retail and there is many verticals. So our focus has always been strong diversification across all the verticals. And that, supports because think about the different cycles for all these verticals some can be up, so the auto industry can be down but supported by the CPG industry and vice versa. So it’s good to stay diversified across all these categories.

Brian P. Fitzgerald – Jefferies LLC

Great. Thanks Bill, thanks Todd.


Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Jason Helfstein with Oppenheimer & Co. Please proceed with your question.

Jason S. Helfstein – Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.

Thanks. Just talk a little bit about as the new products rolled out. How you think that impact the financial model due to the gross margin and some of these new products come in lower but then ultimately you try to offset that would or more than offset that with higher gross revenues given you it should give you access to additional demand and in inventories. Can you just talk about how you see the dynamics pointing out the rest of the year as new products come online? That’s question one.

Question two. Can you comment on what percent of revenue either is currently or you expect in the second quarter and from the DSP, just trying to understand how material that is? And then, last question, can you just clarify just the commentary on in-stream was around the different product was exactly clear.

Are you guys doing kind of that, is there more in-stream back in the business. So that we can clarify that? Thanks.

Bill Day

I think you mean in banner not in-stream

Jason S. Helfstein – Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.

Banner sorry, in banner.

Bill Day

No, the business is 99 point something percent in-stream still. So I talked about sort of the diversity in terms of revenue stream, that’s still pretty much holds from an in-stream standpoint. Yes, we do some in banner, but it’s really driven by client request at this point diversity where it’s part of their strategy as opposed to something that we go out and directly solve. I can answer that one, Todd, you probably want to talk about the margin impact of programmatic.

Todd Sloan

Yes. The programmatic products second half of the year launch. I mean, we just launched DSP they will have more of an impact in the second half of the year. To your point on the gross net issue, so the world is, most of the world is still viewing it and treating it gross. So depending on what your take would be half of gross, would impact what’s your present margin would be I think, it’s varied out there right now.

I think it depends on the quality of your technology and your ability to negotiate through that to determine what you’re ultimate take is. But I think overall, I think in general, it probably if for those that are doing it, it’s going to be 30% and below at this point, if you treat it gross. So this is something that we are looking at closely and we haven’t made full decisions on this yet. There is still time to play this out first and how we price this and what that take is. So I think, that’s the way to probably look at that.

Jason S. Helfstein – Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.

Okay and then I mean just how should we think about the guidance? Are you assuming any revenues from the new product in the full year guidance?

Bill Day

So we’ve been as we said in the past we are staying very conservative on this for now. This sales cycle is more or like a SaaS sales cycles so it’s a longer sales cycle it takes place. So gaining adoption and predicting volume on that, so it’s to come if you will. So we are staying pretty conservative on that so far.

Jason S. Helfstein – Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.

Got it. And then just lastly, just to reiterate you said in the comments that you are expecting performance advertising to increase as a percent of mix as we move through the year correct?

Bill Day

Yes, so our expectation is that, it would get back into the mid 30% range.

Jason S. Helfstein – Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.

Okay, thank you.


Thank you. Our next question comes from line of Yoni Yadgaran with Credit Suisse. Please proceed with your question.

Yoni Yadgaran – Credit Suisse Securities LLC

Hey this is Yoni on for Stephen. I was just wondering if you have seen any pushback as you guys kind of rollout on your programmatic offering on the DSP side, if you’ve seen any pushback from publishers in terms of making their inventory available via more programmatic types of solutions. Have you heard any concerns from your publishing clients or customers?

Bill Day

Yes, absolutely. And so a lot of our publisher partners to be very honest with you. In general, don’t participate in programmatic solutions very widely at all in the marketplace right now for a number of reasons but that’s I think the opportunity for Tremor Video. Right it’s because we have strong partnerships with them that go for years and the fact that we are building SSP capabilities that cater to their needs that probably look more like private market places as opposed to public exchanges that I think we are going to be very successful in pushing the SSP product forward.

It’s not any difference than a different sort of amount, we had to claim in the past where publishers generally were not willing to allow their network partner to share any of the information about what has ran well on their sites because of their concern about sales conflict with their direct sales force and we were able to break that down. As really, as far as I know the only network that allowed by this publishers to tell the advertisers, which ads ran on which sites.

So I think, in general they have a lot of reputation. They have seen, some sort of work and other parts of the advertising, ecosystem. They want to do video right. But that’s again I think where our debt of partnership and expertise around working with them and their type of inventory gives us a distinct advantage.

Yoni Yadgaran – Credit Suisse Securities LLC

Okay guys, thanks.


Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Michael Graham with Canaccord. Please proceed with your question.

Michael Graham – Canaccord Genuity, Inc.

Thanks. Hi guys and congrats on the quarter. I have a couple of questions, maybe just ask them and let you answer and then ask the next one. The first can you comment on any bundling activity on part of your premium publishers hit the partners and their sales forces kind of the phenomenon that hit part of Q3 last year. Like have you seen them bundling inventory together with Linear TV inventory still that process, still going on or have you seen it stopping or just any comment there, that’s the first question?

Bill Day

Yes, I think the results we reported today we saw the stand behind the statement, we made at the time of Q3 reported that was a speed bump rather than something that was more continuous. There is certainly a bundling going on. So the partners we work with sell directly, but they also sell increasingly in conjunction with their television sales. So it’s definitely going on.

The thing that was more material in that Q3 timeframe was really the hand-off at certain agencies with respect to responsibility of their buying decision. And that’s getting sort of slowdown while they were figuring out the television up fronts. And so that will pass that, that explains a pretty straightforward, we continue to see I think as we’ve said in the past 20% to 50% of our inventory in any particular quarter be composed by our premium and exclusive relationships, Q1 was no different from that. So it sort of smooth sailing from that sales point going forward.

Michael Graham – Canaccord Genuity, Inc.

Okay, thanks and then just on going back to Jason’s question about – I guess about licensing more broadly. Six months ago the vision of the licensing business was video hub for advertisers and video hub for publishers. And I guess with the advent of the DSP business, I’m just wondering like do you still expect like, as you look forward I know you are being conservative about what you expect from the new products, but how do you see the components of the licensing business overall? And was the old view of the licensing business is that reflected in your full year guidance?

Bill Day

I’ll let Todd talk about guidance, but in general we continue to feel strongly about the licensing business. To understand and sort of clarify as a platform customers, we use our DSP you will receive the analytics provided by VHA VideoHub for Advertisers as part of the DSP offering. So it sounds like you’ve to make a two step decision. It’s all put together for your ability to buy on metrics as well as understanding an analytics around your buying.

That said we believe there are still a number of agencies who maybe won’t you to use our DSP or they are not buying problematically or otherwise they require that sort of customized solution for analytics that complements their buying strategy. And so I think for both and I think there is analogous situation on the publisher side as well. So it’s built modularly, we can sort of put things together break them apart as required.

And I think we still feel like in some ways be it in the buying and selling platform business will actually aid our ability to drive increasing licensing as opposed to be in the licensing business alone. Todd, I’ll let you talk to the guidance question.

Todd Sloan

Yes. I think they clearly, to those point of that, the analytics offering is still a standalone product and can and will get traction in the market and has gotten some traction in the market. So to the extent that you ask if those numbers are in the model, yes. They are part of being – the overall forecast is not just the media business, but also the analytics, the ability for clients to take just analytics. But to the extent that our DSP is sold in the analytics, but those campaigns that they choose to use the DSP for the analytics are part of the DSP product. So and that side of the business that’s where I am staying conservative. When you think about licensing as a whole all of these products would contribute to that.

So that is something that we think about as far as the licensing business separate from the media business wold include DSP, VHA standalone. So it includes all of that, yes. And I think again the power of what we are doing is the ability to put solutions together to meet the needs of the customer who sometimes encompasses media as well as licensee and then we believe in the future we’ll often encompass buying as well. We weren’t ready in this earnings call to announce specifics, but we are able to close the second top five holding company deal for VHA in Q1. So I think that underscores our ability to continue to scale the analytics licensing business itself and maybe we’ll have more specifics around that detail to talk about in the future.

Michael Graham – Canaccord Genuity, Inc.

Okay. That’s helpful. And then just last quick one if I could. Just any comment, Todd, that you want to make around linearity of revenue in the quarter and sort of how the visibility of the business is either changing or not changing, just how comped are you sort of the near-term Q2 outlook relative to the visibility that you had over the last few quarter? Thanks a lot.

Todd Sloan

Yes, sure. I mean I would say that consistently we enter a quarter with about 60% visibility and that hasn’t really changed. I think even if you look at earlier quarters, having that visibility is pretty consistent. I’m fairly confident about what we can project into the next couple of quarters. So I think it’s, I guess, I’ll say it’s consistent again.

Michael Graham – Canaccord Genuity, Inc.

Right. Thanks, guys.


Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Our next question comes from the line of Wayne Brown, private investor. Please proceed with your question.

Unidentified Analyst

Hi, gentlemen. I wish if you could speak for a moment about just the macro environment in the industry that you have. Is there an opportunity looking at possible consolidations or acquisitions given the large cash position that the company maintains and do you see some accretive opportunities and looking at trying to improve shareholder value since the IPO?

Bill Day

Yes, I mean, I think I can’t spell. One of the most exciting things about where we operate is the fact that it’s video, and as I said, increasingly video is going to be driven by the television dollars sort of crossing over into the video unit, which is very different than how the first several billion dollars of video growth occurred and the company is super well, I think, positioned to compete forward looking in a world that’s driven by television dollars than maybe it was even in the first couple of years of the video market where it’s driven by sort of reallocation of display advertising.

From a user proceed standpoint, we have a very active curative effort where we look at a number of things and occasionally do things that Todd has talked to you in prior earnings calls. And so, we think it’s part of the path to success. We continue to believe that our organic growth plan including the roll out of the new products we have talked about today is spot on in terms of delivering the shareholder value you talked about.


Thank you. At this time there are no further questions. I would like to turn the floor back to management for any closing comments.

Bill Day

Well, again, I just want to reiterate that we’re pleased with our Q1 results and look forward to a successful 2014. Thanks everyone.


Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today’s teleconference. You may disconnect your lines at this time. Thank you for your participation.

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