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Twitter exploring international sports partnerships, including cricket

Twitter’s revenue declined to $548 million, which was 8% less YoY than Q1 2016 — however, this was modestly higher than Twitter’s own estimate. The number of Daily Active Users also increased 14% year-on-year; Twitter didn’t provide the exact number of DAUs. The company is also expanding its Live product; it had 200 more hours than the previous quarter, with 800 hours of livestreams in Q1.

The company is also looking at expanding its portfolio of international deals, including sports. “There is a very passionate audience for cricket. Their rights are really expensive and they’re locked up for multi-years. That doesn’t mean we can’t partner with different media companies that have those rights,” CEO Jack Dorsey said in the quarter’s earnings call. He said that the company would explore how to work with existing sports rightsholders to increase their reach via Twitter.

“Growth driven by new features”

Dorsey said that most user growth was driven by new features. Twitter has been using machine learning to improve the relevance of tweets in users’ timeline. They have also removed character limits on replying in threads. Asked whether Twitter’s crackdown on abuse led to a slowdown in user growth, Dorsey said “we’ve seen no discernible impact on our metrics from these changes to make Twitter safer”, saying that only a small percentage of Twitter accounts engaged in abusive behaviour.

We want to get to a place where we’re the first place they hear of something,” Dorsey said. “We have to make sure that we’re building something that’s really relevant so that when we notify someone, it’s something that is deeply impactful to them”.

Layoffs and restructuring cause slowdown

Late last year, Twitter laid off 9% of a major portion of its workforce, including 20 employees in India. This was done as part of a restructuring that included the shutdown of their short-form video platform Vine, and also the sale of two startups. Combined with other headwinds, this led to a slowdown that Twitter said it hopes to turn around soon.

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Periscope and Live video progress

Twitter streamed 800 hours of Live video in Q1. “We can monetize that content with pre-roll advertising as we do with our other live video,” Dorsey said in the call. Twitter had started pre-rolling ads on Live video last quarter. Over half of Twitter Live viewers are young and global. “50% of our audience in live streaming is less than 25 years old and over 50% is international,” Dorsey said. Over 5.1 million viewers streamed the Grammys live on Twitter this year.

User metrics

– Twitter currently has over 328 million monthly active users (MAUs) globally, up 6% from the same quarter last year. In the previous quarter, Twitter reported more than 319 million MAUs.
– There were 70 million MAUs in the US at the end of Q1 2017. MAUs in the US have not changed significantly over the last year.

Financials

– Twitter reported revenues of $548 million for Q1 2017, down from $717 million revenues reported in Q4 2016.
– The company’s net losses were $167 million during this quarter, compared to the loss of $90 million in the same quarter last year (Q4 2015). In the previous quarter (Q3 2016), Twitter posted net losses of $103 million.
– Advertising revenue accounted for $474 million of the revenues, while data licensing & other accounted for the remaining $74 million revenues.
– Advertising revenue was down 17% YoY.
– EBITDA stood at $170 million for the quarter, down 6% YoY from $215 million in Q4 2016.

Press Release | Presentation | Earnings Call | Letter to Shareholders

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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