Special Alert: Tematica’s take on Trade Desk earnings

Special Alert: Tematica’s take on Trade Desk earnings


Last night recently added Connected Society / Content is King company Trade Desk (TTD) reported results that beat September quarter expectations. However, after several “beat and raise” quarters, TTD shares were trading off in the aftermarket last night and again in pre-market trading this morning due to “underwhelming” revenue guidance — guidance that was modestly short of consensus expectations. For the current quarter Trade Desk guided revenue to $101 million, while the consensus forecast was $101.6 million. For those doing the math, yes that’s a variance of less than 1% — a variance on guidance, not a variance of actual results, Still, TTD shares are down more than 11%.

What’s going on?

As we mentioned when we added Trade Desk shares earlier this week to the Tematica Investing Select List, the company has a reputation for “beating and raising”.  While it clearly beat September quarter expectations that were looking for EPS of $0.26 on revenue of $76.8 million last night with EPS of $0.35 on revenue of $79.4 million, the guidance, which is likely to prove to be conservative in our view is the issue. Plain and simple, Trade Desk management did not boost its outlook for the current quarter above the consensus view, and that is catching some investors off guard.

We’ve seen this before when a company that has a track record of raising expectations quarter after quarter, suddenly doesn’t follow the expected playbook. Some investors panic and sell thinking “things must be over” or “something is wrong.”

In our experience, more often than not, what we are seeing in Trade Desk — a company that is benefitting from the accelerating shift in advertising spend to digital platforms — is simply re-casting the expectations bar so it can continue to walk over it, beating expectations in the process. To use Wall Street lingo, we suspect Trade Desk is sandbagging the current quarter in order to keep its “under promise and over deliver” reputation intact. While it’s not fun in the short-term, such actions that drive a stock’s price lower offers us an opportunity to improve our cost basis at better prices as we scale into the position.

When we added the shares, we mentioned that there was the chance that Trade Desk could deliver a flub. We didn’t think it was likely, and the performance in the September quarter was robust — a quarter that showed 95% customer retention as well as solid growth across mobile, international and other advertising platforms including audio the underlying business. On the earnings conference call, Trade Desk shared it added “3 large global brands” during the quarter with spending in the test phase.

What this tells us is Trade Desk continues to gain advertising spend share as companies continue to look for ways to reach consumers in today’s increasingly connected and digital world. Considering how brand conscious companies are, and rightly so, we see it as a huge vote of confidence that Trade Desk continues to win and retain customers.


Here’s our strategy for TTD shares

Our strategy with Trade Desk shares will be to remain patient with our current shares and sit on the sidelines in the very short-term while sellers weigh down on the stock price. In relatively short order, we expect to be in a position to step in and add to our position at better prices given that we see no slowdown in the shift toward digital advertising.

If there was any doubt, all we need do is look at where people are spending their time — on connected devices. While there may be some bumps along the way, we see this creative destruction in how and where advertising spend occurs as 2.0 version of how the internet impacted newspaper advertising. There is no putting the genie back in the battle, especially as video consumption shifts from broadcast to streaming services, with more players ranging from Facebook (FB), Alphabet (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL) getting involved. If anything, we see advertisers pivoting toward Trade Desk.



Facebook’s Content is King effort Watch goes live… will you watch it? 

Facebook’s Content is King effort Watch goes live… will you watch it? 


We’ve seen a number of companies, like Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN) look to position themselves within our Content is King investing theme. It’s a smart strategy as that proprietary content is a competitive moat that helps reduce customer churn. With Watch, Facebook (FB) is looking to push into streaming video and vie with Alphabet’s (GOOGL) YouTube as a home for longer-form video. And Facebook is hoping to grab a bigger chunk of money from advertisers’ TV budgets, by steering users toward content with more 15-second ad-break opportunities.

It’s worth noting that in addition to smartphones and desktops, Watch is available on several connected-TV platforms: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Samsung Smart TV. We like the multi-platform approach, especially since Apple TV has yet to get Amazon’s Prime Video… perhaps we’ll hear more on that on Sept. 12 at Apple’s next big event?

Starting Thursday, Facebook’s Watch feature — essentially a programming guide to episodic shows hosted on the social platform — will become broadly available to users in the U.S., after a three-week limited beta run.

The Watch guide is stocked with several hundred shows, a mélange of scripted, reality, documentary and sports content of varying lengths from both traditional media companies and individual digital creators. (Here’s a select list of shows currently in Watch or coming soon.) The new Watch tab isn’t the only way to access the series: They’re also available through Facebook’s new “Show Pages,” which provide features specifically for episodic video content.


Source: Facebook Launches Watch Feature, Shows in U.S.: Will Viewers Tune In? | Variety

Alibaba to invest big time in entertainment taking on Netflix and Amazon

Alibaba to invest big time in entertainment taking on Netflix and Amazon

2016 was a year of marked investment in content from the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Alphabet. But there are more companies entering the fray including Facebook and even Apple. Given the global thirst for content, which both Amazon and Netflix are aiming to cater to, it comes as little surprise that Alibaba is looking to invest in Content, which we all know is King. If there is any question about that, we’d point you to the US box office and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group, the entertainment affiliate of Alibaba, plans to invest more than 50 billion yuan ($7.2 billion) over the next three years, the affiliate’s chief executive said.

In an internal email seen by Reuters and confirmed by an Alibaba group spokeswoman, the affiliate’s new CEO Yu Yongfu pledged to invest in content, saying “he didn’t come to play.”

Alibaba’s entertainment business underwent a major reorganisation in October, marking a total consolidation of the company’s media assets.

Source: Alibaba entertainment affiliate to invest over $7 billion over next 3 years

Facebook to copy Amazon and Netflix with original video programming

Facebook to copy Amazon and Netflix with original video programming

We’ve long suspected Facebook would eventually move past short video advertising into longer format programming to capture an even greater portion of the video advertising dollars that are fleeing traditional broadcast TV. It’s got the user base and aims to improve that monetization. Video content, especially outside the US, is a solid strategy to do so. As it does this and brings original programming to its users, much the way Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX) are doing, Facebook starts to blur the lines between our Connected Society and Content is King investing themes.

Facebook wants to bankroll its own original video shows, the company’s global creative strategy chief, Ricky Van Veen, told Business Insider on Wednesday.

The videos Facebook wants to license will live in the new video tab of its mobile app and including “scripted, unscripted, and sports content,” according to Van Veen.

Source: Facebook wants to bankroll its own original shows – Business Insider

AT&T CEO puts DirecTV Now at $35/month, but…

AT&T CEO puts DirecTV Now at $35/month, but…

AT&T has been all over the news the last several days, and the news flow continues today when fresh from yesterday’s conference call to discuss the merger with Time Warner,  CEO Randall Stephenson shared its soon to launch DirecTV Now video streaming service will cost $35 per month. Details were rather sparse and we expect more when the official launch happens “next month.”

We expect many comparisons to offerings from Sling as well as pricing relative to Netflix and Hulu, but we suspect it will be far cheaper than the video services offered by Verizon’s FiOS, Comcast and others. As potential chord-cutters, we are anxious for the details!

Speaking at a Wall Street Journal conference today, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson reportedly told attendees that DirecTV Now will launch in November at a price of $35/month. That puts the service $15/month above the starting point for the competing Sling TV live-TV streaming offering, and about the same price point for the barest-bones versions of Sony’s PlayStation Vue service.Where DirecTV Now appears to be trying to compete is on content. According to reports — again, this has not been officially announced or confirmed — Stephenson says that DirecTV Now will offer 100 channels.

Source: AT&T CEO: DirecTV Now Streaming Service Will Cost $35/Month, Launch Next Month – Consumerist

US Over the Top Video Users Approach Saturation Point

US Over the Top Video Users Approach Saturation Point

Streaming video continues to grow as does consumer spending on streaming video services. That trend has led Hulu to drop its free streaming service in favor of a subscription business model. Increasingly Hulu is looking more and more like Content is King company Netflix. How long until there is so much proprietary content that we’ll be thinking once again of Springsteen’s early 1990s song, “57 Channels and Nothin On”

According to eMarketer’s first-ever forecast of over-the-top (OTT) video viewership, OTT video services are nearing saturation. This year, 186.9 million people in the US will watch video via an app or website that provides streaming content over the internet and bypasses traditional distribution.

Nearly nine in 10 digital view viewers in the US already watch video content this way.

Overall, more US TV viewers are watching television shows and movies via subscription-based streaming services. A survey from Hub Research found that the respondents who chose streaming services were nearly double those who picked TV network sites or apps, and they were more than double those who picked free aggregators, such as Crackle or free content from Hulu.

Source: Hulu Drops Free Streaming Service as OTT Viewership Grows – eMarketer