Hollywood Media Q2 2006 Earnings Conference Call Transcript (HOLL)

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Hollywood Media Corp. (NASDAQ:HOLL)

Q2 2006 Earnings Conference Call

August 9, 2006 4:45 pm ET


Mitchell Rubenstein - Chairman, CEO

Laurie Silvers - President

Brian Walsh - Associate General Counsel

Matt Hayden - Hayden Communications


Jeff Shelton – Bleichroeder

Andrew Mead - Corsair


Good afternoon. My name is Rich and I’ll be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Hollywood Media 2006 second quarter earnings conference call. (Operator Instructions) It is now my pleasure to turn the floor over to your host, Matt Hayden of Hayden Communications. Sir, you may begin your conference.

Matt Hayden

Thank you and welcome everyone to today’s conference call regarding Hollywood Media’s 2006 second quarter financial results. Today’s press release announcing these results is available for viewing on the Investor Relations section of Hollywood Media’s web site at Hollywood.com and most other financial websites.

Our call today is going to be hosted by Mr. Mitchell Rubenstein, Chairman and CEO of Hollywood Media Corp., and Laurie Silvers, President of Hollywood Media Corp. At the conclusion of the call there will be a question-and-answer period open to those participants.

At this time, I’d like to turn the call over to Mr. Brian Walsh, Associate General Counsel of Hollywood Media to read a cautionary statement about forward-looking statements.

Brian Walsh

Good afternoon. This presentation may contain, in addition to historical information, forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws regarding Hollywood Media Corp. These forward-looking statements are based on current management expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual outcomes to differ materially from expectations reflected in forward-looking statements.

Potential risks and uncertainties include: the Company’s ability to manage its growth and integrate new businesses; the Company’s ability to develop and maintain strategic relationships; the Company’s ability to compete with other media, data and Internet companies; technology risks and risks of doing business over the Internet; the Company’s ability to realize anticipated revenues, cost efficiencies, and sources of capital; as well as governmental regulations, volatility of the Company’s stock price and other risks described in Hollywood Media’s filings with the SEC, including its Form 10 K report for 2005.

Form 10 K includes a discussion of risk factors and it can be accessed through the Investor Relations section of the Hollywood.com web site or from the SEC’s EDGAR database at sec.gov.

Because forward-looking statements are subject to risks, we caution you not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements during this presentation speak only as of the date of this presentation. All written or oral forward-looking statements by Hollywood Media or on its behalf are qualified by these cautionary statements.

Now I’ll turn the call back over to Mitchell Rubenstein.

Mitchell Rubenstein

Thanks, Brian. In our view the second quarter was, by several metrics, the strongest quarter in our Company’s history. Each of our three highest revenue generating segments -- Broadway ticketing, data business and Internet ad sales -- were EBITDA positive, and our Company’s consolidated results were also EBITDA positive for the second quarter of 2006. Our cost control initiatives are progressing with positive impact.

Let’s now review the financials. Hollywood Media’s net revenues for the three months ended June 30, 2006 increased 27.3% to $33 million compared to $25.9 million for the same period of 2005. This was also a 37.8% sequential improvement compared to the first quarter of 2006. As I’ll discuss more in our segment detail discussion, this revenue growth was the result of a 24.7% increase in our Broadway ticketing division, a 12.6% increase in our data business segment and a 159.5% increase in Internet ad sales.

Hollywood Media’s net loss for the second quarter of ‘06 was $1 million, or $0.03 per share, based on 32.6 million weighted average shares outstanding during the period, and represented a 48.2% improvement compared to the second quarter 2005 net loss of approximately $2 million, or $0.06 per share, based on 31.2 million weighted average shares outstanding during the second quarter of 2005. Our sales growth, coupled with our cost control initiatives, helped to drive this narrowing of our net loss.

Hollywood Media’s consolidated EBITDA for the second quarter of 2006 was a positive $266,962 compared to a negative $1.2 million in EBITDA for the second quarter last year.

Interest expense for the quarter was $559,942 an increase of $510,000 over the second quarter of 2005, of which $206,000 of this increase was non cash. This interest expense increase was caused primarily by the senior notes we issued in November of 2005.

Depreciation and amortization was $712,023 for the second quarter of 2006, compared to $757,000 for the year-ago period.

EBITDA for the second quarter of ‘06 included the following items: a one-time gain of $584,000 due to a change in the fair value of the derivative liability associated with certain warrants; and approved non cash charges that included $415,713 in stock-based compensation expense and 401(k) employer stock match. Our earnings release posted on Hollywood Media’s web site includes additional information about our EBITDA data for your review.

For the first six months of 2006, net revenues were $57 million, an increase of 23.4% compared to revenues of $46.2 million for the first six months of last year. EBITDA for the first six months of 2006 was negative $1.1 million, compared to negative $3.5 million for the same period in 2005, an improvement of 70.1%.

The net loss for the first six months of 2006 was $3.7 million, or $0.12 per share, based on 32.5 million weighted average shares outstanding during the period, and represented a 24.8% improvement in net loss compared to the $5 million net loss, or $0.16 per share, during the 2005 period based on $30.9 million weighted average shares outstanding during the first six months of 2005.

We completed second quarter 2006 with $2.9 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $4.4 million of net accounts receivable compared to cash and cash equivalents of $4.9 million and net accounts receivable of $4.4 million at March 31, 2006.

Cash usage during the second quarter of 2006 included $1.4 million to purchase Broadway ticketing inventory and $526,294 to pay the cash portion of the purchase price for our acquisition of Screenline, a German-based addition to our data business. We utilized cash to build our Broadway ticketing inventory, with the expectation of this inventory driving growth in the second half of 2006.

Now I’ll discuss some of the financial results in our different business segments. Please refer to the press release, including the segment highlights and the attached tables for additional financial data on our segments.

Broadway ticketing. During the second quarter of 2006, our Broadway ticketing revenue was $27 million, a 24.7% increase compared to the $21.7 million for second quarter last year. This increase was attributable to a combination of price and order increases, as well as growth in tourism in New York City. We continue to offer customers more product and service options, including ticket and hotel room packages as well as a broader array of premium tickets; and, we continue to evaluate and implement marketing programs to help us sell these packages in order to increase our revenues and profits in this segment.

We are just putting the finishing touches on a new ticketing system which will enhance productivity significantly and make us faster to market with new packages which we plan to launch in Q107, after the busy holiday season.

The Broadway ticketing segment’s net income for the second quarter of 2006 was $861,130 a decrease of $172,745 or 16.7% compared to $1,033,875 in second quarter last year. EBITDA for Broadway ticketing decreased 15.8% to $927,000 for second quarter compared to $1.1 million in the year-ago quarter.

The decrease was attributable to $228,780 in second quarter 2006 expenses associated with our recently launched Theater.com web site, which commenced selling tickets for London’s West End theaters in February of 2006. We are conservatively managing our expenses for Theater.com as this business develops. Note that as I had mentioned before, more people attended theaters in London’s West End in 2005 than on Broadway in New York in that same period.

I’ll also note that we were featured in an article in the London Times on April 1 which highlighted many of the benefits of our Theater.com web site, including the full picture gallery, multimedia video features and reviews on London West End shows.

We are pleased to note that deferred revenue relating to Broadway ticketing, a leading indicator of future Broadway ticketing revenues, was $18 million as of June 30, 2006; up 40.4% compared to the $12.8 million in deferred revenue as of June 30, 2005.

Now turning to our data business. The data business segment, which includes Baseline Studio Systems, Cinema Source, Event Source and Exhibitor Ads, crossed the $3 million quarterly revenue milestone for the first time in the second quarter of 2006, up 12.6% compared to the $2.7 million in revenue in the segment for the second quarter last year.

The increase in revenue is attributable primarily to organic growth in both the Source and Baseline business units, which includes more revenue from existing customers as well as the addition of new customers. Our pipeline of potential new business in our Data segment remains strong.

Net income for the Data business segment increased by 31.2% to $668,301 in the second quarter of 2006, compared to $509,219 in the corresponding period of 2005. The Data business results include accrued compensation expense of $202,000 in the second quarter of 2006 relating to potential future performance-based bonuses under employment agreements for certain senior Data business managers, which agreements were not in place during the corresponding 2005 periods.

EBITDA in the Data business was essentially flat at $926,389 in the second quarter of ‘06 compared to the second quarter last year, and of course it would have increased if not for the accruals of the potential future performance-based bonuses that I just mentioned.

I will now turn to Laurie Silvers, our President at Hollywood Media, to discuss some of our businesses and recent developments.

Laurie Silvers

Thank you, Mitchell. Revenues in Internet Advertising Sales Division for the second quarter of ‘06 were $2.8 million, an increase of 159.5% compared to the $1.1 million in revenues for the second quarter of ’05, due to ad sales generated by Cinemas Online, as well as increased ad sales generated by Hollywood.com and Broadway.com.

As a result of these developments, the Internet ad sales results for the second quarter of 2006 included positive EBITDA of $276,023 a 172.2% improvement as compared to negative EBITDA of $382,378 in second quarter 2005, and a net loss in second quarter 2006 of $16,713 a 96.7% improvement as compared to a net loss of $501,432 in second quarter of ‘05.

We have witnessed the ramp up in traffic and ad revenues for Hollywood.com following the successful launch of our redesigned web site during the third quarter of last year. We experienced an increase in unique users. The unique users increase created more ad inventory in the form of more page impressions for us to sell, and also creates more valuable primetime inventory.

As a recent measure of Internet traffic for June 2006, comScore Media Metrix reported that Hollywood.com had 11,795,000 global unique users compared to 4,027,000 for June 2005; and also reported that global unique users in the second quarter of 2006 were up 82% over the second quarter of 2005, and up 35% sequentially over first quarter 2006.

We have, through an outsourcing partner, a dedicated team in India coordinating with our U.S. management team to continually develop and launch new features and functionalities on Hollywood.com. Some of the recent web site and business developments for Hollywood.com include:

An expanding library of photographs via new arrangements with a photo provider, where the site is receiving approximately 1,200 new images a week and over 400,000 historical images are being integrated and mapped into Hollywood.com’s celebrities and event galleries, which will add to the large celebrity photo library we already have. This is a positive development since we find that our photo galleries are one of the most popular areas of Hollywood.com and are very sticky.

Approximately 75 web site development changes to Hollywood.com were released in the second quarter of 2006, highlighting content more effectively, which we expect will increase usability and performance.

New advertising commitments in the second quarter of ‘06 came from Winter Fresh, Bounty, Paramount, GE, Honda, AT&T and Verizon.

We made a change in the leadership of our ad sales team, and it’s one we’re excited about. We sought a new ad sales manager with a robust experience in building and managing a larger sales team. We feel fortunate to have recruited a talented sales executive, Kevin Hicks, who will join Hollywood.com as Senior Vice President of Advertising Sales. Kevin brings an extensive background in sales, including Internet advertising.

Kevin was Vice President, Online Advertising Sales for WhitePages.com at the time we recruited him, where he managed the Company’s day-to-day national advertising sales force and ad operations, as well as creating and implementing the long-term strategy supporting the Company’s overall direction and growth goals. Prior to that, he served as the WhitePages.com Director of Sales, where he drove a substantial increase in sales revenues and the amount of ad agency business. Before joining WhitePages.com, Kevin was in ad sales management at Go2Net, Peterson Publishing and Multiple Zone.

Kevin has hit the ground running with us, and we are pleased with his addition to our team and his contributions already. Given Kevin’s strong background and the fact that the majority of our revenues emanate from our installed sales force, which remains intact, we are very confident about the future growth of this segment and feel his addition is a plus for our Company.

Regarding Hollywood.com TV which is a free, VOD cable network, meaning it is typically free to cable TV digital subscribers and is ad supported. Hollywood.com TV is now distributed on systems with over 16 million subscribers and we expect additional subscriber growth as the existing cable operators carrying Hollywood.com TV roll out free, VOD offerings to more systems.

We are anticipating advertising revenues on Hollywood.com TV in the $100,000 to $200,000 for the second half of 2006 under ad buys in process. Recent ad buys have included a major advertiser in the DVD category. We believe that it is possible we will be sold out of ad inventory on Hollywood.com TV in Q406.

There are approximately 70 to 80 free VOD offerings currently available generally in the cable TV industry, and ours is typically in the top ten in terms of the number of pulls of on-demand content, based on reports we have received from MSOs.

Another positive development we mentioned in an earlier call this year is that we anticipate that the forthcoming Nielsen TV ratings for free, video on demand usage will generate more interest from advertisers and facilitate advertisers to allocate more of their ad budgets to free, VOD services. Just yesterday, Nielsen announced that their software to measure programming views via video on demand will be released August 20, and that Nielsen is pushing ahead with this measurement service, dubbed NORA, for Nielsen On-Demand Reporting and Analytics.

Regarding our offshore outsourcing initiatives, we have outsourced part of our IT and data entry services to India, which services several of our operating segments. This is progressing smoothly. At this time, our outsourcing partner in India has deployed approximately 50 of its employees on our accounts, consisting of approximately 32 engineers and technicians for our IT projects and related needs, including Hollywood.com; and 18 persons for data entry.

Turning now to MovieTickets.com, in which we own a 26.2% equity interest, MovieTickets.com now has agreements to handle online movie ticketing on an exclusive basis for nearly 80 movie theater chains, up over double from this time last year. MovieTickets.com experienced strong, first ticket purchased activity over the summer due in part to the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest. The continued and further adoption of online movie ticketing purchases prompted MovieTicket.com to launch a Spanish-language version of the site, which is now available, in addition to a French-language version.

In summary, this was a solid quarter of continued growth and we look forward to updating you further as we continue to progress. Thank you for your time. At this point, Mitchell and I will be happy to answer questions.

Question-and-Answer Session


(Operator Instructions) Your first question comes from Jeff Shelton of Bleichroeder.

Jeff Shelton – Bleichroeder

Thanks. A couple questions. I was hoping you could talk a little bit more about the strong Broadway numbers. How much of that came from the West End? Could you break out how much of the growth was in the group sales versus the online/phone?

Second question: G&A saw a nice sequential decrease. Is that where the one-time warrant was booked, or is that a good base to go off from there? I’ll leave it at that. Thanks.

Mitchell Rubenstein

Thanks for the question. On the G&A, the decrease was not related to the one time warrant that you mentioned. So that’s an actual drop in G&A.

In terms of our Broadway revenue increase, we did experience very strong increases in both individual sales and group sales. Groups has really come back strong for us. We’re really defeating the competition in groups. It was about a 47% increase in our Broadway group ticket sales from Q205 to Q206. Individuals were about 14%, so still strong because the dollar amounts, it was almost a $2 million increase in individual sales, and about a $3.4 million increase in group sales, which is how you get to it.

Hotels were up about 26%, hotel sales. But those are coming in net, so we had almost $455,000 in revenue, which doesn’t sound like a lot but when it’s net, it’s really nice because it goes right to the bottom line.

I don’t have London figures to update everyone with just yet. It’s tracking nicely. It takes about nine months approximately from launch earlier this year until it gets picked up by the search engines organically, without having to pay for it. We think with the rich content and all that, that will drive growth. So that should start to take effect prior to the Christmas holiday season in London.

So we’ve been managing very carefully our other marketing expenses, our per click costs and so on, and not driving sales just for the sake of showing revenue growth, but managing the costs on that side. So we can step up the revenue growth virtually at will, once the organic search begins to kick in.

Jeff Shelton – Bleichroeder

Thank you.

Mitchell Rubenstein

Thank you.


(Operator instructions) Your next question comes from Andrew Mead of Corsair.

Andrew Mead - Corsair

Thank you. Two questions, both relating to the EBITDA margins. Specifically the Broadway.com EBITDA margin year-over-year. It looks like it went down from about 5.1% Q1 of ‘05 to 4.3%. I’ve adjusted for the one-time costs that you highlighted, and it’s down also from the first quarter. I was wondering why that is?

Mitchell Rubenstein

Well, the major factor is really the mix; it’s not that the mix has changed off of the same revenue base. When I refer to mix, really for the audience I’m referring to the mix between our group sales, our individual sales. Our individual sales have higher margins than our group sales.

What we’ve done is, we made a large effort in the last few months to drive sales of our group business, and that’s not to say that we’re not doing the same thing in our individual business. We are. It’s just that we decided to really get aggressive competitively there, and we’re doing a great job in that it’s up 48% 2Q06 versus 2Q05.

Because the margins are a little lower it may seem that our EBITDA is going down. What’s actually happening is our revenues are going up disproportionately higher and we’re seeing some of that growth coming in the lower margin group sales.

What that’s doing is we’re able to drive more overall revenue, we’re able to buy better and better quality tickets and that will help our individual sales as well, so that both types of sales are important. The group sales are to large travel tour companies and travel agencies, schools, like the 10th grade coming in to visit New York from Des Moines, Iowa. Things like that. So those are sales that we can influence the access to inventory and sales training and so on with our staff, and that’s what we’ve been focused on.

Andrew Mead - Corsair

Okay, and then the increase in inventory of tickets. Is that something that you anticipate to moderate? Do you see that inventory amount coming down through the rest of the year or do you think that there’s a new level of inventory you’ll need to maintain?

Mitchell Rubenstein

Coming down.

Andrew Mead - Corsair

So this is a one-time build up that should burn off over the rest of the year?

Mitchell Rubenstein

Yes, exactly. Exactly. We build up as we enter the holiday season and the further in advance we can buy, the better the inventory is that we’re buying. So we’ve gotten a little more aggressive because we see, as you can see with the deferred revenue having gone up, which indicates sales we’ve made in the current period for future periods where they’ll get booked, because we don’t book the sales until the performance occurs. So we could have a sale, say, in 2Q06 for a performance starting in 4Q06 and that will build up deferred revenues.

So we see with an over 40% increase in deferred revenue as of June 30, 2006 as compared to June 30, 2005, the same number, how significant we expect the growth to be in the latter periods of this year and into early next year. Therefore, based on those early indicators if you will, we feel we need more inventory to handle that growth.

The inventory is very important for another factor. It gives the site ticketing, where we are viewing Broadway.com going forward, and I’ll talk about this more in next quarter’s earnings call, as having another stream of revenue that’s not apparent just yet; and that’s ad revenue. So we started selling advertising, but we’re gearing up to do a new Broadway.com site. I don’t want to give a target date just yet to when it will launch, but it’ll have a lot more ad inventory availability or space on the site for ads. That will be very high margin, well over in the 60%, 70% gross margin range.

Having ticketing inventory is like having great content on the site. People are drawn to the site to see what ticketing you have, in addition to the reviews and the coverage of opening nights and things like that on Broadway, the actual ticketing itself is a magnet that draws users.

So by having that quality and depth of inventory, we feel we can drive more traffic; and therefore, especially with a site with more ad space, drive high-margin ad revenues so we can be talking about that in subsequent calls.

Andrew Mead - Corsair

Okay. The senior unsecured notes are classified as a current liability now. I don’t have the terms before me. Are they due within the next year?

Mitchell Rubenstein

Yes. I don’t have the due dates, but it’s in our 10-Q. It’s not due for awhile. We have the option, they’re not convertible securities in the sense that the holders cannot convert them. They don’t have the option to convert them. We can pay it either in cash or in stock, so it will just depend on what our cash situation is, or we can borrow from a bank and pay them off.

Andrew Mead - Corsair

The principal amount, you’re saying?

Mitchell Rubenstein


Andrew Mead - Corsair

You can pay off with your stock. Okay.

Mitchell Rubenstein

Yes. We can pay it in stock or cash, at our option; not at the holder’s option.

Andrew Mead - Corsair


Mitchell Rubenstein

Depending upon where our stock is at the time, we can make that decision or we could borrow from a bank and replace them, at that point.

Andrew Mead - Corsair

Then my last question is on the Data business, and it goes back to the margins again . I can’t imagine there’s a mix issue in the data, but it looked like the EBITDA margins are even stripping out the bonus payments. I’m just looking at Q1 of this year versus Q2 of this year. It looked like the EBITDA margin came down a decent amount. I’m wondering if you could explain what’s going on there?

Mitchell Rubenstein

Yes. EBITDA’s margin -- well, gross margins were essentially flat in 2Q06 versus 1Q06.

Andrew Mead - Corsair

It’s like $2 million of difference in EBITDA and the revenue was higher in Q2.

Mitchell Rubenstein

We had one acquisition recently of a German company. Revenue was up in 2Q06 in Data versus 1Q06 and up 12.63% versus 2Q05.

If you add back the non-cash accrual for potential performance bonuses, so just did an estimate of what they might be in the future, if you add that back in, you’ll see that the EBITDA was essentially flat from 1Q06 to 2Q06. We have a very significant pipeline of new business and signed a number of contracts in 2Q06 which will turn into revenue and drop to the bottom line in future periods.

Andrew Mead - Corsair

So the $202,905 was just in Q2. That was not in Q1.

Mitchell Rubenstein

Correct. That’s the difference.

Andrew Mead - Corsair

Okay. I misread the footnote. When it said for each, I just assumed it was for each quarter. Okay.

Mitchell Rubenstein

No, no, no. It meant for each of 2Q06 and for the six months ending June 30.

Andrew Mead - Corsair

Got it. I misread it. Okay.

Mitchell Rubenstein

Because there was zero of that expense in 1Q06. So that probably answers that.

Andrew Mead - Corsair

So going forward, is the $202,905 something that would, assuming the trends continue, is that something that would repeat Q3 and Q4?

Mitchell Rubenstein

It will probably repeat in Q3 but not in Q4. We just do an estimate. Actually as the business does better and better, obviously we’re trying to incent our Data managers with performance bonuses. So these are performance bonuses that generally – because there’s more than one employee’s bonus in here – but these are managers in our different Data businesses. These performance bonuses are generally payable out some time into the future. All we’re doing right now is just making estimates to accrue them so we don’t get hit with a big expense in the future. It’s only based upon how solid the growth has been in the businesses, how well they’re performing, how well they’re delivering the results for us.

We’re seeing, as I mentioned in the presentation, our pipeline of data business is very strong and signing a lot of significant data deals where the revenue will convert virtually 100% into EBITDA. So I’m very positive on this business and its performance and just to be conservative, we began to accrue potential future bonuses, rather than having it come back and hit us with a big number in the future.

Andrew Mead - Corsair

Got it. Okay. Thanks.

Mitchell Rubenstein

Thank you.


There seem to be no further questions at this time. I’ll turn the floor over to Mr. Rubenstein for any closing remarks.

Mitchell Rubenstein

Okay, well I’d like to thank everyone for attending. We’d invite everyone to please check out, from time to time, Hollywood.com. Every time you do, you’re another unique user for us and page impressions. I think you’ll enjoy what’s going on on the site if you haven’t been on there in awhile. We are just, as Laurie mentioned, adding significant functionality and so on. The search is very good as well. The photo galleries that we mentioned are -- I don’t want to say unsurpassed on the Internet -- but they’re right up there with pretty much any celebrity photo gallery-type site or aspect, and very deep. So I’m going to thank everyone for coming and look forward to updating you next quarter.


This concludes today’s Hollywood Media conference call. You may now disconnect.

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