Livenation (LYV) Q2 2016 Earnings Call

Livenation (LYV) CEO Michael Rapino said live entertainment is king and VR isn’t going to disrupt that phenomenon in the near-term

“I think specifically to your VR question, listen, we believe at the core why our business is growing and it’s going to have a long run way of growth is experiential onsite is the magic. So, the 22 year old that’s going to Lollapalooza this weekend or the 52 year old going to Guns N’ Roses reunion this weekend is a magical moment and it’s much like going on vacation is lot better than watching a video. So, we do believe that the moat around the castle and the most advantaged kind of offering we have is our scale in live and live experiential, on-site where you get the goose bumps, you experience with your friends and make those Kodak moment, has huge opportunity forward for us.”

Livenation (LYV) CEO Michael Rapino on the effect Brexit will have on his business

“So, on the first on the UK exposure we’ve seen zero impact on fan demand in the UK as it relates to the Brexit or any of those concerned. So, absolutely none and yes all of that happened late in the second quarter. But even our forward rates as I mentioned which show roughly flat to bit of decline in the pound still has us at the 1% to 2% for the year. So, we’re not seeing anything in terms of either the demand or the translation economics that has us concerned at this point.”

Cimpress (CMPR) Fiscal Q4 2016 Earnings Call

Cimpress (CMPR) CEO Robbie Keane on customer expectations of the pricing of shipping their product 

“The market certainly has shifted in terms of what customers expect to pay for shipping. And so, we want to be right in the middle of the bell curve of the market. Now, our customers tend to be small businesses who use shipping services like DHL or UPS or whoever and they know very well the cost of shipping a product. And they would expect that we would have better cost than them. So we have to align with that. And they are, our research says our customers are perfectly willing and happy to pay what they perceive is a fair transparent price for shipping. What they don’t want to do is pay something that they say is materially above the cost that they themselves can buy from this small business just because we include our processing costs in that overall amount. Now, there are companies that are going towards no shipping charges. We’ve tested that and we do not see that that is something we need to go to. Our pricing stays very, very value based as a holistic pricing including the product cost itself. But the Vistaprint customer seems to very much focus on fairness and transparency as opposed to free.”

Hershey (HSY) Q2 2016 Earnings Call

Hershey (HSY) CEO John Bilbrey said consumers are looking for healthier items and cleaner ingredients

“So for certain consumers in the marketplace, certainty authenticity and simple ingredients is clearly something that they are looking for And so our approach is really to think about our – the holistic portfolio that we have and make sure that we have choices for everyone along the spectrum, so certainly barkTHINS, clean label, simple ingredients and that appeals to that consumer. And as I believe you are aware, we evolved our Hershey product, which was very close to simple ingredients, took it all the way there and we are actually going to begin advertising on that in the third quarter. So we believe that certain products of ours, certainly like a Jolly Rancher, are never going to be simple ingredients. So we will have a full portfolio that gives consumers meaningful other choices.”


Diageo (DEO) Q2 2016 Earnings Call


Diageo (DEO) CFO Kathryn Mikels said both the North American & European geographies lead growth

“By region, North America and Europe, Russia and Turkey were the biggest contributors to growth. Getting North America back to solid growth contributed almost 1 percentage point to Diageo’s overall growth rate of 2.8%.”

Diageo (DEO) CFO Kathryn Mikels said they’ve focused a lot of resources on building out their distribution

“Our distribution changes range from increasing our salesforce by 35% in Europe, almost doubling the number of outlets we call upon, to work with our distributors in emerging markets like Colombia, where we have grown our distributor network to ensure we have thescale to deliver on our mainstream spirits agenda. In Kenya we are investing in our distributors’ sales capability, with training and support, to improve their efficiency and increase our trade coverage.”

Significant growth across their largest brands

“All six global giants, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Guinness, Baileys and Tanqueray were back in growth this year.  Johnnie Walker grew 1% with reserve brands up 10%.  Smirnoff and Captain Morgan’s improvement was driven by their performance in the US with continued good growth in Europe.”

They’ve been able to identify market efficiencies to help the bottom line

“Again this year the business has delivered significant marketing efficiencies. Thesehave been achieved through optimising digital partnerships, benchmarking our contracts to renegotiate better deals, and working smarter with our creative agencies. Our North American and European businesses have so far led the way on this journey, with more to be done globally through our productivity program.”

They expect a weak British pound will be a tailwind for their business into next year 

“With the recent weakening of the pound, exchange is forecasted to be a significant tailwind in fiscal 17.  Using the current spot rates exchange is forecast to benefit net sales by £1.1 billion and operating profit by roughly £370 million.”

Diageo (DEO) CEO Ivan Menzes said their Captain Morgan brand is playing a unique role in the election cycle

“Captain Morgan is also back in growth with a new vibrancy. It is one of the most distinctly recognised brands in spirits and “Captain & Coke” is still a top 5 branded bar call.  In this rather unusual election year in the US, The Captain is championing the cause for a Constitutional Amendment to allow under 35 year olds to run for President.”

Much like the rest of the consumer packaged goods industry, they’ve implemented a zero based budgeting program to figure out where they may be able to save on costs 

“We have deployed a Zero Based Budgeting approach for our indirect cost sand external benchmarking shows this is one of the best in class ZBB methodologies. We have a bottom up ‘by activity’ plan for all of our indirect spend, challenged by cost champions for each type of cost. And we measure performance by month against this plan. The ZBB process has identified significant cost reduction opportunities. Some reductions are straight forward for example,rescheduling events to run adjacent to each other in order to reduce travel costs and leveraging technology to reduce face to face internal meetings. Somer eductions are very creative. For example our legal team in South Africa now have a preferred supplier list of upcoming lawyers willing to take on smaller, non-critical assignments at reduced fees to enhance their CVs.”

Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schulz Letter to Employees

Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schulz said the Starbucks experience only works if it is embedded with trust

“As I’ve recently expressed, the Starbucks journey is about trust. We earn trust in how we show up for each other. We build trust in how each of us connects with our customers and the communities we serve. We demonstrate trust in how we lead. In our fragile world, where trust is being tested in so many ways, I believe it’s never been more important for Starbucks to be the best version of ourselves—a Third Place that offers a sense of community and human connection to so many.”

On embracing curiosity and courage to adapt to the evolving competitive landscape

“To be among the world’s most respected and enduring companies, we must constantly look around corners and let our curiosity and courage drive innovation. With this mindset and purpose, I have no doubt we can continue to grow the company sustainably, and in ways that will continue to make us all proud.”

Starbucks (SBUX) Fiscal Q3 2016 Earnings Call

Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schulz said macroeconomic weakness is affecting the traffic to its stores 

“What we did not and could not have fully anticipated was the profound weakening in consumer confidence in Q3 that has caused sharp declines in QSR and restaurant traffic overall and has many of our competitors struggling with negative transaction comps. And as I have mentioned in the past, Starbucks is not immune to macro challenges that impact our competitors and retail overall. But as with weather, we will not hold these challenges out as excuses.”

Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schulz believes political turmoil and social unrest is having a toll on consumer confidence

“In Starbucks’ 24 years of public life, I can’t recall a quarter quite like Q3 of 2016, when a confluence of social and political turmoil at home, weakening consumer confidence, increasing global uncertainty, and the launch of one of our most significant long-term initiatives of all-time all occurred within a single earnings period.”

Europe grew the slowest of all of the company’s geographic regions

“System comps across our EMEA business grew 2% in the quarter. A slow-growth European economy, Brexit, a weakened British pound, and ongoing security concerns throughout the region have contributed to consumer uncertainty throughout Europe. Our brand continues to hold up well in this challenging environment.”

Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schulz spoke about what the Starbucks brand represents 

“As I said in my prepared remarks, though, we, at Starbucks, look at this not as an excuse but feel very strongly that what we offer our customers, the sense of community, the longing for human connection, a safe place, an affordable luxury and, obviously, the innovation that we have brought forth gives us the confidence that we will be the kind of company and the kind of brand that will demonstrate to our customers the aspirational connection.  So much of what we’ve been able to do over the years is linked to the equity of the brand which is linked to the experience.”

The company doesn’t want to get in the habit of being promotional 

“What we saw this past quarter and, for that matter, even beyond that, was given the challenges that exist in the marketplace that we’ve all seen and discussed, there is a tremendous amount of discounting and promotion going on in the market where people are buying business. We do not want to be in the business of buying business. We do not want to discount or dilute the integrity of the brand. We know who we are. We know what our core purpose is. And we’ve got to play the long game and have faith and confidence in what we stand for in terms of the experience, the quality of the coffee. What we keep talking about really internally is we want to take the equity of the brand and the position of Starbucks up. The premiumization of Starbucks is linked to the Roasteries and linked to this new format of stores that we are working on that you’ll begin to see in calendar 2017 which is Starbucks Reserve which, in a way, is like a cousin in a smaller format of the Roastery. All of that will shine a halo on the brand, shine a halo on the experience, and we don’t want to do anything that would dilute that halo by buying business or discounting, and we’re not going to get in that game, despite the fact that so many other people are throwing that at us.”

Unilever (UN) CEO Paul Polman Interview

Unilever (UN) CEO Paul Polman on how to inspire a team to rally around a mission

“In many companies there are cost savings programs, and frankly they are not very motivating because, you know, you do them and then they come back at you with another one, you never see the money back, and your group’s budget ultimately gets cut again.  It’s about the worst thing you can imagine.  In 1979, my first job in the company was about cost savings, it was like a scene out of the movie with ‘Office Space.’  In our company, just to give you an example, 800 million people go to bed everyday not knowing if they’re going to wake up the next day due to hunger and not having access to food.  Yet, we have the audacity to waste 30% of our food in the value chain.  If we have a program in the company of attacking our food waste, people are not attacking this as a cost savings program, they’re attacking this because people go to bed hungry and I can tell you that that unlocks an energy that I’ve never seen anywhere else.  When people work on any of our brands that we have, our bar soap brand, we’re not in the business of selling bar soap, we’re in the business of helping a child reach the age of 5 by teaching them how to do hand washing and promoting hygiene.  Our toilet cleaner brand, not a pleasant topic to talk toilet cleaners, but their mission is to fight open defecation, over a billion people in this world don’t have access to toilets and with all the hygiene risks associated with that.  People are fighting to work on a brand like that because they want to make a difference.  So if you can link everything you do in a company, which is my basic philosophy, to explain how you’re making a positive impact on society, than you have a reason for being.  And then society welcomes you and because of this, more people want to work with you, our growth has accelerated, and our share price has done extremely well.”

Unilever (UN) CEO Paul Polman on the meaning of life
“What is a meaningful life?  The main thing in life is leaving this world a little bit better than you found it.  And if you say in that process, you positively influence some other people, that’s already a good start to living a meaningful life.  What is true leadership?  True leadership is putting the interest of others ahead of your own, knowing very well that by doing so, your own true interests will be better served.  It’s a very selfish thing.  I work a lot with the blind and deaf in Africa for different reasons, but by working with these people, I become very humbled and I actually get more satisfaction by what we do to find the solution than you probably provide to these people in the first place.  It’s a very selfish thing, but leadership is all about giving and knowing, that by doing so, you are better off in the end yourself.  If you come at that point in your career, you will have a very balanced life.” 

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger Interview

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger on how he effectively runs different movie studios such as Pixas, Lucasfilm, & Marvel

“The essence of what they do is they are extreme insiders at how they manage, how they care for, where their passions lie for their own storytelling, their own brands and the meaning of Star Wars and Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar, Disney Animation. No one knows and has more passion about those stories and storytelling and those brands than they do. And that contributes greatly to their successes. What I’ve really tried to do is to not disrupt that.”

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger on the unique culture of Pixar

“I spent a full day at Pixar thanks to Steve Jobs and John Lasseter and Ed Catmull when I had broached to Steve the idea of buying Pixar. We began a conversation and I said, “I need to spend a day there. I need to go into the tent for a day.” And he said, “Absolutely.” I went completely alone. I didn’t have a piece of paper and a pen. I had nothing to take notes on. I met every director; they each pitched me seven or eight films. I met everyone. And my takeaway was that there was a culture there that was extraordinary. And that the worst thing that we could do as a company would be to destroy or damage it in any way. When we valued Pixar, everybody said we spent too much for those assets, but a large chunk of what we were valuing was what would happen if we could actually infuse in Disney Animation a culture that wouldn’t be exactly like Pixar but borrowed elements from it and ultimately turn the fortunes of Disney Animation around. Here we are in 2016, we look at Zootopia, which [grossed] a billion dollars coming off of Big Hero 6 and Frozen and Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph. It’s all rooted in the knowledge that Ed and John, the so-called outsiders to Disney but insiders to Pixar, brought to the table. Usually it’s the opposite: You buy a company and basically destroy the company.”

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger on the challenges in the ESPN subsidiary and expanding its distribution

“Well, first of all, when people say “fix,” that usually suggests something is really broken, and it’s not. ESPN is not broken at all. ESPN, like a lot of other media entities, is facing challenges that they haven’t faced before that are due to some very obvious circumstances, which is technology’s effect on media both on the creative side, the distribution side and the consumption side. There’s more competition, the [power] shift from the distributor and the creator to the consumer is pretty apparent. And it’s critical to be as present as possible on all platforms, which ESPN is — but also to monetize them in as effective a way as possible. So what ESPN is exploring, they’re creating more product that can be sold directly to the consumer, while at the same time doing what they can to make the product they sell to the distributors as vital as possible. In terms of timeline, I can only tell you there’s a significant amount of work going on as we speak to move more ESPN product onto new platforms as fast as possible.”

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger on whether he sees a correction coming to sports-rights TV deals

“There isn’t one in sight.  I last saw Twitter bought some [NFL] rights. Yahoo is bidding on rights. Who knows what Verizon will do. I don’t see one in sight.”

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger said you need to focus on your own business

“I won’t speak for the entertainment industry. I speak for Disney. I’ve seen people in the industry come to work every morning paranoid about what the other person or other company is doing. That means you’re spending time and focus on somebody else’s business instead of your own.”






Nike (NKE) Q4 2016 Earnings Call Transcript

Nike (NKE) CEO Mark Parker said the company is benefitting from the secular trend of individuals buying more athletic related apparel

“But NIKE wins because we just don’t adapt to these forces, we create and shape the change. We lead. For example, we are all seeing the growing power of sports. Participation is increasing all over the world. People are leading healthier, more active lives. At the same time, the rise in sport culture is bringing fitness and style together. Profoundly influencing what we all wear everyday.”
Nike (NKE) President Trevor Edwards called out Western Europe as a geographical area of particular strength 
“Now let’s turn to Western Europe where we’ve seen broad based demand with growth of 19% in the quarter and 14% for the year. Growth in the quarter and throughout the year was fueled by our continued efforts to transform the marketplace along the category offense. In Q4, all territories grew double digits and all key categories grew led by Sportswear, Global Football, Jordan Brand and Running.”

Nike (NKE) CFO Andy Campion emphasized the strength of the brand
“NIKE is the number rated brand by consumers in every major market and every key city around the world. From China to Europe and of course here in North America. That is perhaps the most important metric that I’ll speak to you on this call. Because it is bestowed upon us by the consumers that we serve and it must be earned. NIKE Brand leadership with consumers is fueled by our authentic and relentless obsession with bringing inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
Nike (NKE) CFO Andy Campion said demand for athletic wear it outperforming
“Globally consumer demand for athletic footwear and apparel is outpacing broader consumption. At the same time, the retail landscape is rapidly evolving.”
Nike (NKE) CFO Andy Campion said Brazil is still economically challenged
“Revenue in Brazil declined due to the challenging macroeconomic environment, however, our brand is strong in Brazil, our inventories are healthy and we continue to take share.”

Livenation (LYV) CEO Michael Rapino Interview

Livenation (LYV) CEO Michael Rapino described their average customer

“We’re closer to a travel company than a record label.  My real job is, 73 million fans will come to a Livenation show this year.  The average customer goes to 2 and a half shows this year, wherever it is be it middle America or France.  It’s a big adventure, it’s a destination, it’s a kodak moment for them in that it ranks up there as one of their most important experiences of the year.”

Livenation (LYV) CEO Michael Rapino said the internet actually helped musicians increase their popularity

“The internet helped artists even though it hurt the recording industry.  Beyonce is huge in Columbia because of the internet, not because of the old gatekeepers.  We just want to make sure we’re in every channel of live entertainment possible.”



Source: Audio Interview Podcast