Yelp (YELP) Q2 2016 Earnings Call

Yelp (YELP) CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said they’re spending some of their marketing budget on old school TV advertising

“To drive broader awareness of Yelp, we’re investing in TV and online video advertising, as well as direct marketing. As we typically do with sizable investments, we’re rigorously testing and measuring the effectiveness of these campaigns and our tests in the second quarter show lifts in over a dozen different metrics. While we’re still analyzing results from numerous tests, we’re encouraged by what we’ve seen so far.”

Regal Theaters uses Yelp and finds it to be their highest ROI marketing channel

“A great example of how we’re delivering results for advertisers is our work for Regal Entertainment Group, one of the largest cinema operators in the U.S. Regal began advertising on Yelp last year and experienced dramatic increases in website traffic and high converting leads. In fact, it seems that consumers who find Regal Theaters on Yelp spend more time on their site and buy tickets at a much higher rate than through any of their other online advertising channels. To drive even more value our national account team is working directly with Regal to identify new opportunities, such as complementing their program with targeted local advertising around new releases.”

Yelp (YELP) CFO Charles Baker said they still have a lot of head room to grow

“There are 20 million some businesses in the Yelp index, there are 3 million plus that have claimed their presence on Yelp. There are 128,000 that are active advertisers, and now there are 100,000 businesses that are connected for a transaction capability. And I think that you should think of our market opportunity, kind of along those lines in terms of the total addressable market, our ability to market ourselves into a presence and a relationship with businesses and then to bring them into our suite of services, we can help them find, acquire and transact with their customers.”

 

Baidu (BIDU) Q2 2016 Earnings Call

Baidu (BIDU) CEO Robin Li said revenue will be impacted over the next couple of quarters due to the Chinese government cracking down on certain parts of their business

“Baidu faced a challenging second quarter, with heightened regulation in the healthcare sector and on internet advertising and impacting operations. The implementation of new regulations and the stricter standards that we proactively imposed to make our platform more robust, will likely suppress revenue for the next two to three quarters. This period of uncertainty will pass.”

Users come first

“Our users come first. We can only run a truly sustainable business if we put our users above all else, by deeply understanding their needs and delivering great products to them that are underpinned by innovative technology. Baidu will rise to new heights, as long as we maintain the trust and loyalty of our users and continue to be at the forefront of innovation. This may mean doing the hard things, but the right things, for which there is no compromise.”

They’re betting artificial intelligence is the next large computing paradigm

“We’re now experiencing the dawn of a new era, a time when artificial intelligence is emerging as the lifeblood of all things.  Just as the rise of electricity transformed the world 100 years ago, we now work with partner to use AI to transform industry after industry. We have invested in AI over a number of years. And the accumulation of data and technology, positions Baidu particularly well to lead the new AI era, reaping benefits over the long term. Baidu is consistently recognized among the global leaders in AI. Recently MIT Technology Review named Baidu the number two smartest company globally in 2016. We’re very proud of our achievements and we’re just getting started. We’re even more excited by what good things we can achieve to improve people’s daily lives, to transform industries and to realize the true potential of this powerful technology.”

Using their strength in machine learning to get into other business verticals such as finance or transportation

“Machine learnings have enabled the automatic drafting of ad titles based on user profiling and user queries. Making what used to be a tedious, manual process for customers, much more intelligent, streamlined and targeted. Through machine learning, we’ve helped our customers automatically create and enhance their mobile landing pages, based on their PC websites and keywords. The technology also filters out low quality results and predicts click-through rates for sponsored links. Baidu Brain not only benefits our core-search business, it also opens up new opportunities in areas such as financial services, where we see great potential in education loans, online banking and online insurance. Our DU virtual assistant which marries voice recognition with services and autonomous driving which will transform the transportation industry.”

Their self-driving car has some level of support from the Chinese government

“We continue to make strides in the area of autonomous driving. In the past quarter we signed contracts to operate commercial autonomous cars in designated areas in Chinese cities, Wuhu and Beijing and we continue to be in discussions with partners and stakeholders in the industry. We recently showcased our autonomous car at the high profile 12th Five-Year Plan Technology and Innovation Achievements Exhibition and are particularly encouraged by the enthusiastic support received from the government at both local and national levels.”

A new law imposed by the government raised their online advertising business tax rate

“As it pertains to the internet advertising law, Baidu’s online advertising revenue which is majority of our revenue, will be subject to an additional business tax of 3 percentage points. We expect our current business tax rate to increase by roughly 3 percentage points, starting September 1.”

On why they’re getting into the financial technology space

“I think financial services is a very large industry and we do not expect it to take off this year, but we think we do have a unique advantage which is our solid foundation in artificial intelligence related technology and our insights and big data or our insight into our hundreds of millions of users every day.  So we’re at this stage exploring areas like credit loans, wealth management and we have partnerships with companies like Citic Bank, Allianz, in areas like commercial banking and insurance. And Baidu Wallet functions as a foundation for all of these endeavors because we need a strong user account, we need an account that users can deposit money, can borrow money, can pay, can trust us to do transactions.  So that’s the rationale behind Baidu Wallet. So it’s more about a strong user account than about payment to Baidu. It’s still too early to tell you in the next three years how much revenue we’re going to get but we think this is a very promising, large industry and Baidu is uniquely positioned to take advantage of some of that.”

IAC (IAC) Q2 Earnings Call

IAC (IAC) CEO Joey Levin said were about to enter an era of even higher volatility 

“Nonetheless, our conduct in the last quarter was not due to a lack of conviction on value, but rather a countervailing sense that we are entering a period with increased volatility in public and private markets with a difficult IPO market and a tightening of venture financing, and we want the financial flexibility to seize opportunities that may arise from these conditions.”

They believe they are too conservative estimating their growth of their strong businesses and too aggressive estimating the growth of their weaker businesses

“In terms of operating performance, we had another great quarter in our high growth, higher potential businesses and took action to restructure our low-performing businesses. In my experience, we frequently forecast the growing businesses too conservatively on the upside, and the struggling businesses too aggressively relative to the downside. Oddly, we’re not optimistic enough when we have reason to be, and too optimistic when we don’t. I’d like to say that with pattern recognition we ought to be able to excise this deficiency in our forecasting.”

The Match Group (MTCH) Q2 2016 Earnings Call

The Match Group (MTCH) CEO Greg Blatt said Tinder is now the 5th highest grossing app in the world (excluding games)

“And you look at the graph on the bottom right there, on a global basis excluding games, Tinder is now the number five grossing app in the world, behind only Netflix, HBO, Spotify, and LINE. Really getting into some heavy company there and really just on a fantastic roll.”

Tinder app is getting good traction in Asia

“Again Japan and India are actually our two fastest growing geo’s for Tinder. Of a relatively small base, so I don’t want to make too big a deal of it at this point, but showing real traction there and we’re trying to feed the fuel there. I think South Korea is another place where Tinder in particular we’re seeing a lot of growth, Brazil etc. So, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for growth within our existing businesses. We’re always looking at geographic expansion.”

 

IAC (IACI) Chairman Barry Diller Interview

IAC (IACI) Chairman Barry Diller on treating your competitors with respect 

“All my life I’ve been around tensions between distribution and production. I understand them. They don’t anger me. I understand leverage. I understand that leverage ebbs and flows in some cycles. The leverage is one side and then in other cycles it is on the other side. I learned very long ago that when the leverage is on your side, don’t push it through the wall because when it switches, you’re going to be the recipient of revenge. I have a lot of equanimity about that.”

 

 

Source: July 13, 2016 Interview http://www.wsj.com/articles/barry-diller-talks-travel-1468442443

Yelp (YELP) Q1 2016 Earnings

Yelp (YELP) CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said revenue growth accelerated 

“We had a great start to the year with local revenue growth accelerating to 40% year-over-year, driven by the continued strength of our recurring revenue base, as well as better than expected ad budget fulfillment and strong sales team results. This year, we’re prioritizing building our core local advertising business, growing transactions, and increasing consumer awareness.”

Nearly 1 out of every 3 Americans use the Yelp mobile app 

“Based on our measures, we’re at about 30% reach in the U.S. So we feel like there is significant upside, although we’re quite proud of where we are. I think if you look at top 20 comScore properties, we make that list now.”

Even though Yelp has millions of users in international markets, only 2% of their revenue is derived from overseas 

“International revenue contributed about 2% of total revenue in the first quarter.”

Broadridge Financial Services (BR) Q1 2016 Earnings

Broadridge (BR) CEO Richard Daly said their financial institution customer base remains under pressure

I’m confident in our sales trajectory over the long term, because the large financial institution we serve remain under intense return-on-equity pressure, and we represent a reliable way to address  some of this pressure. Given the environment, we continue to experience pricing pressure. I don’t recall a timing during my tenure as CEO, where we didn’t see pricing pressure. Pricing pressure has been more than offset by new sales opportunities.”

Customers continue to focus on reducing expenditures

“We are seeing an increasing willingness to outsource non-differentiating functions to reduce cost. An increasing regulatory complexity also creates more opportunity for Broadridge as firms struggle to remain compliant and competitive within an ever-changing industry landscape. The Department of Labor, or DOL, Conflict of Interest rule is an example of this.

Continuing to invest resources in the blockchain

Blockchain continues to be an area of critical focus across all of our business lines. It seems you can’t pick up an industry publication without reading about the power and potential of blockchain technology. We are pleased with our investment in an innovative leader like Digital Asset Holdings and we’ll look for other ways to invest when the opportunity is aligned to our long-term strategic goals.”

Broadridge’s various businesses are aided by some key secular tailwinds

The financial services industry continues to revolve driven by the secular trends of mutualization, digitization and data and analytics. Enabled by these key trends, we believe that there are multiple paths to achieving our longer-term objectives.”

Baidu (BIDU) Q1 2016 Earnings

Baidu (BIDU) CEO Robin Li said mobile is now more than half of the company’s revenue

“Mobile grew particularly well this quarter and hit a new milestone, contributing 60% of total revenue, off the back of improving search monetization capabilities driven by product and technology innovation.”

Getting into the financial services industry

“Nuomi and Takeout Delivery also continue to observe increased share of orders completed with Baidu Wallet. With our vast distribution platform, merchant network and unparalleled data and technology capabilities, Baidu is uniquely positioned to play a transformative role in financial services.  Baidu Wallet also gained strength with activated Baidu Wallet accounts growing in the quarter from 53 million at end of 2015 to 65 million at the end of Q1 2016.”

One of the reasons for the recent success of Baidu wallet is because it’s integrated into the Baidu platform as the default

“I think the Baidu Wallet user base continue to grow and we do take advantage of the consumption scenarios that happens on the Baidu platform and the majority of the transactions on Baidu Nuomi and a growing part of other services are using the Baidu Wallet. So, the Baidu Wallet is really built on top of the Baidu consumption scenario and help us build the data, the closed-loop services for our customers.”

Baidu (BIDU) CEO Robin Li believes the car is the next large computing platform and is planning a car by 2020

“Deep learning will be one of Baidu’s key technology advantages, as we move forward in autonomous driving. We believe that automobile is the next major computing platform and that advances and innovation will happen quickly, especially here in China, where the problems that autonomous driving addresses are so pronounced. We are aggressively beefing up our R&D efforts in this area, both here in China and at our U.S. R&D center in Silicon Valley.  Baidu’s returns in high definition mapping and in deep learning-powered computer vision will prove to be decisive advantages and we are on track now to deploy autonomous vehicles powered by Baidu technology in 2018, with production at scale by 2020.”

Baidu (BIDU) CEO Robin Li believes the company is the leading Chinese artificial intelligence company

“We have invested in AI for many, many years. We believe we are leading in this sector not only in China, but around the world. This enables us to do disruptive things like autonomous driving. And it’s kind of early for us to talk about this model because right now our focus is to solve those technical problems; the first to make that autonomous driving fully autonomous.”