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Ziff Davis, Inc. (ZD) Q4 2022 Earnings Call Transcript

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Ziff Davis, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZD) Q4 2022 Earnings Conference Call February 16, 2023 8:30 AM ET

Company Participants

Vivek Shah - CEO

Bret Richter - CFO

Conference Call Participants

Shweta Khajuria - Evercore ISI

Jared Pomerantz - Susquehanna Capital

Cory Carpenter - JPMorgan

Joey Petroline - Barclays Capital

James Breen - William Blair

Ygal Arounian - Citigroup

Rishi Jaluria - RBC Capital Markets

Jon Tanwanteng - CJS Securities

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and invited to nan Ziff Davis 4th fourth and year-end 2022 net call. My sanction is Paul, and I will beryllium nan usability assisting you today. At this time, each participants are successful listen-only mode. A question-and-answer convention will travel nan general presentation. [Operator Instructions].

On this telephone will beryllium Vivek Shah, CEO of Ziff Davis; and Bret Richter, Chief Financial Officer of Ziff Davis. I will now move nan telephone complete to Bret Richter, Chief Financial Officer of Ziff Davis. Thank you. You whitethorn begin.

Bret Richter

Thank you. Good morning, everyone, and invited to nan Ziff Davis investor convention telephone for Q4 and fiscal twelvemonth 2022. As nan usability mentioned, I’m Bret Richter, Chief Financial Officer of Ziff Davis, and I'm joined by our Chief Executive Officer, Vivek Shah. A position is disposable for today's call. A transcript of this position is disposable connected our website. When you motorboat nan webcast, location is simply a fastener connected nan spectator connected nan right-hand side, which will let you to grow nan slides. If you person not received a transcript of nan property release, you whitethorn entree it done our firm website astatine www.ziffdavis.com. In addition, you'll beryllium capable to entree nan webcast from this site. After completing nan general presentation, we'll beryllium conducting a Q&A. The usability will instruct you astatine that clip regarding nan procedures for asking questions. In addition, you tin email questions to investor@ziffdavis.com.

Before we statesman our prepared remarks, let maine to publication nan Safe Harbor language. As you know, this telephone and nan webcast will see forward-looking statements. Such statements whitethorn impact risks and uncertainties that would origin existent results to disagree materially from nan anticipated results. Some of those risks and uncertainties include, but are not constricted to, nan consequence factors that we person disclosed successful our SEC filings, including our 10-K filings, caller 10-Q filings, various proxy statements and 8-K filings, arsenic good arsenic further consequence factors that we person included arsenic portion of nan descent show for this webcast. We mention you to discussions successful those documents regarding safe harbor language, arsenic good arsenic forward-looking statements.

Now, fto maine move nan telephone complete to Vivek for his remarks.

Vivek Shah

Thank you, Bret, and bully morning, everyone. These are challenging times, peculiarly for businesses successful nan integer media and advertizing market. Our strategy successful this difficult situation is uncomplicated. First, attraction connected net and mitigating risks successful nan portfolio. Second, put for integrated maturation done nan observant reallocation of resources and costs. Third, pull and clasp nan champion talent successful our markets. And fourth, proceed to build our equilibrium expanse truthful that we're successful a position to get highly accretive and value assets. For nan 4th quarter, we grew our adjusted EBITDA by complete 4%, notwithstanding a astir 3% diminution successful revenues. For nan afloat twelvemonth 2022, we grew revenue, excluding our divested assets, by 1%, and adjusted EBITDA by astir 5%. We're proud to person generated gross maturation successful this climate, while besides expanding our adjusted EBITDA separator by astir 150 ground points. While we knowledgeable an integrated gross diminution successful Q4 that was accordant pinch what we knowledgeable successful Q3, we return immoderate solace successful nan flattening of integrated decline, peculiarly successful nan 4th quarter, which represents nan largest 4th of our fiscal year.

I’ll talk our 2023 outlook successful a moment, but fto maine supply immoderate texture astir our Q4 and fiscal 2022 results. Advertising revenues declined by 8% successful nan quarter. Like I've described successful erstwhile quarters, it's ever useful to unpack this by category. Our gaming vertical, which has been a agleam spot for astir of 2022, saw a mid-single digit diminution mostly owed to nan hold successful nan merchandise of AAA titles. In nan shopping vertical, we were pleased to spot that RetailMeNot grew debased azygous digits, pursuing up a Q3 that was flat. Where we proceed to spot diminution is astatine our smaller offers.com property, which, arsenic I said successful our past call, we deliberation tin beryllium addressed by allocating immoderate further resources. Our wellness advertizing business was down debased azygous digits, arsenic nan emblematic precocious measurement of Q4 buying did not materialize arsenic successful anterior years. The agleam spot is that we're seeing immoderate greenish shoots successful some our user and master pharma advertisement businesses, pinch 2023 advertisement upfronts up precocious azygous digits year-over-year. As has been nan lawsuit for nan full year, nan tech class continues to beryllium our biggest situation wherever we saw yet different double-digit decline. This assemblage continues to coming challenges for us, but arsenic I said past quarter, this is simply a rhythm that will request to play itself out, and we judge having diversification crossed aggregate categories, including shopping, healthcare, tech, and gaming and entertainment, is simply a competitory advantage.

Subscription revenues grew complete 4% successful nan quarter. We proceed to spot very beardown maturation retired of our connectivity business, pinch revenues up beardown double digits done integrated gains and nan use of nan RootMetrics acquisition. Connectivity has been a accordant full and integrated gross grower complete nan past 8 years, arsenic we judge we person cautiously assembled a category-leading roster of brands and capabilities successful nan broadband services market. Our devices and products are designed to beryllium instrumental successful nan ongoing improvement of integer infrastructure, and helping individuals and businesses entree connectivity solutions to meet their increasing needs. We person made 9 acquisitions successful nan space, including Ookla, Ekahau, DownDetector, and RootMetrics, establishing america arsenic a worldwide leader successful web intelligence, web design, development, deployment, and optimization, and connectivity insights. It's why we recruited a awesome caller President, Stephen Bye, to lead it. Stephen is simply a broadband and wireless manufacture veteran, having served arsenic nan Chief Commercial Officer of Dish Network, and wherever he was precocious appointed to its Board Of Directors, besides president of C Spire, Chief Technology Officer of Sprint, and successful elder roles astatine Cox and AT&T. Stephen is wide known and respected successful nan industry, and possesses a uncommon operation of highly method engineering skill, pinch very beardown business and financial acumen. He has been instrumental successful nan improvement and deployment of Dish’s standalone 5G network. He has had occurrence astatine nationalist multinational telecommunications companies, arsenic good arsenic astatine growth-oriented backstage companies. We're very excited to spot Stephen return our connectivity business to nan adjacent level.

Our cybersecurity and MarTech businesses had a challenging Q4, pinch a adjacent to 10% diminution successful revenues. Approximately 2 percent points of diminution was driven by little favorable FX rates versus Q4 2021. For nan year, excluding nan divested businesses, nan business was fundamentally level successful revenue, and up astir 12% successful adjusted EBITDA. So, while we judge we've done an fantabulous occupation successful increasing our bottommost line, we proceed to person challenges connected nan customer acquisition front, chiefly successful direct-to-consumer cybersecurity solutions. We judge we made bully advancement connected this beforehand successful Q4, launching our caller subscription buying acquisition connected ipvanish.com, pinch localization, caller costs options, and different enhancements that should thief america get customers, particularly extracurricular of North America. In our B2B cybersecurity business, our caller income org started to deed its stride successful Q4, pinch immoderate bully logo wins for our email information offerings. Just a connection astir margins. Obviously, we saw beardown separator description successful 2022. We were very conscious astir headcount passim nan year. We managed our headcount down by complete 10%. While we did execute a simplification successful unit successful Q4, much than half of nan 2022 FTE simplification was achieved done managing earthy attrition. Doing truthful allowed america to negociate expenses successful a mode that wasn't disruptive to nan company, and further demonstrates that we activity difficult to not beryllium amazed aliases unprepared by marketplace shifts. Notwithstanding our attraction connected managing headcount costs, it's important to constituent retired that we are continuing to prosecute wherever we spot promising returns, and we do scheme to proceed hiring for cardinal positions successful 2023.

There are excessively galore charismatic maturation opportunities successful nan institution that we want to beryllium judge to pursue. For instance, successful our wellness and wellness vertical, we are leveraging our contented creation expertise to build apical of chimney qualified postulation to our DTC businesses for illustration LoseIt. At our Health eCareers occupation listings business, wherever we link HCPs pinch apical healthcare employers, we're building a quickly increasing caregiver recruitment business, alongside our longstanding expert recruitment business. In our shopping vertical, we're seeing awesome portion economics pinch RetailMeNot members who prosecute successful our cashback offers and instal our browser extension. In MarTech, we judge we tin unlock worth for email trading customers by leveraging transportation and engagement signals to thrust amended run performance. In cybersecurity, we person a increasing email information business, and pinch nan opportunity to turn this business successful caller markets and pinch larger customers and transmission partners. As we deliberation astir 2023, we expect that nan integrated maturation declines we knowledgeable successful nan 2nd half of 2022, will proceed into nan first quarter, and past commencement to amended sequentially, peculiarly arsenic we get into nan 2nd half, fixed nan use of little comps. While it's very difficult to telephone nan bottommost successful declining markets, we consciousness that we mightiness beryllium location based connected immoderate greenish shoots we're seeing successful nan business. We do person immoderate gross use from anterior twelvemonth acquisitions arsenic well. So, from a full-year perspective, we could spot full gross maturation of astir 1%, but if existent challenges persistent into nan 2nd half, past we could spot full revenues declined by debased azygous digits. I should besides constituent retired that we're not including immoderate prospective acquisitions successful these estimates, which, depending connected nan timing and scale, could correspond immoderate meaningful upside. With respect to our adjusted EBITDA margin, we're assured successful our abilities to lucifer 2022’s 36.5% separator astatine nan precocious extremity of our range. Towards nan bottommost extremity of our range, we would expect margins narrowing by 100 ground points, fixed nan precocious flow-through quality of overmuch of our revenues, and fixed our committedness to proceed to money early growth. We vanished 2022 pinch complete $800 cardinal of rate and investments, and a ratio of 2 times gross indebtedness complete EBITDA. Our powder is dry, and we person been patient. In fact, we didn't get a azygous plus successful Q4 of 2022. The past clip that happened was Q2 2020, which was nan onset of COVID-19. But that didn't past long, arsenic we deployed astir $500 cardinal complete nan remainder of that year. We are presently very active, looking for opportunities astatine each of our 7 platforms, tech, gaming, shopping, connectivity, health, cybersecurity, and MarTech, arsenic good arsenic acquisitions that could correspond an eighth platform.

Finally, fto maine supply you pinch an update connected our ESG efforts. Last March, Ziff Davis committed to mounting emissions simplification targets pinch nan Science-Based Targets initiative, known arsenic SBTI. SBTI defines and promotes champion practices successful near-term science-based target-setting. And I'm pleased to stock that successful November, we formally submitted our targets to SBTI for validation. This is exciting, because we are committing to broad scope one, two, and 3 emissions simplification targets, and we'll beryllium moving complete nan adjacent respective years to meet them. In summation to being a leader successful nan zero c transformation, we stay committed to being a workforce of engaged and compassionate citizens, and nan activity we person done to date, our commitments, and our prioritization of ESG, is opening to beryllium recognized. In precocious December, MSCI rerated Ziff Davis, giving america a AA, which they deem a leader, and up a singular 4 ranking levels. ISS has besides fixed america their apical people of a 1 successful some their societal and governance value scores. I proceed to beryllium incredibly proud of nan activity Ziff Davis has done, and continues to do successful nan area of ESG.

Now, fto maine manus nan telephone backmost to Bret.

Bret Richter

Thank you, Vivek. Let's talk our financial results. Our net merchandise reflects some our GAAP and adjusted financial results for Q4 and fiscal twelvemonth 2022. As discussed during our erstwhile net calls, our UK sound assets were sold successful February 2021, and we completed nan waste of our B2B backup business successful September 2021. The results related to these divestitures are reflected successful our fiscal twelvemonth 2021 GAAP financials done their respective day of sale. However, these divestitures do not effect nan position of our Q4 aliases fiscal twelvemonth 2022 GAAP results. Our net merchandise besides reflects adjustments for nan removal of nan results of these 2021 divested businesses. Explanations for, and reconciliations of, these adjustments are provided successful nan release. On October 7th, 2021, we completed nan spinoff of Consensus. Our fiscal year-end Q4 2021 GAAP income connection reflects nan financial activity related to Consensus and discontinued operations. We'll attraction our chat coming and my commentary will chiefly subordinate to our Q4 2022 adjusted financial results from continuing operations, and our comparisons to anterior periods, which exclude nan contributions from Consensus business for nan 2021 play anterior to nan spinoff, arsenic good arsenic nan divested businesses.

Now, let's reappraisal nan summary of our quarterly financial results connected Slide 4. We reported gross of $396.7 cardinal for nan 4th fourth of 2022, arsenic compared pinch gross of $408.6 cardinal for nan anterior twelvemonth period, reflecting a diminution of 2.9%. Although location was immoderate betterment during nan 4th fourth successful nan worth of definite overseas currencies, FX negatively impacted nan Q4 year-over-year maturation rate, and if nan comparable 2021 rate values were applied to our 2022 Q4 results, gross would person declined by astir 1.3%. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations was $168.3 cardinal for Q4 2022, arsenic compared pinch $161.6 cardinal for nan anterior twelvemonth period, reflecting maturation of 4.1%, which would've been 5.5% erstwhile adjusted for FX. Our adjusted EBITDA separator for nan 4th was 42.4%. We reported 4th fourth adjusted diluted EPS of $2.26. This fig reflects a 3.7% summation arsenic compared pinch our Q4 2021 adjusted results.

Turning to Slide 5. For our fiscal twelvemonth 2022, full gross grew 0.6% to $1.391 cardinal arsenic compared pinch 2021 revenue, excluding divested businesses. Adjusting for nan year-over-year effect of FX, gross grew 2.2%. Adjusted EBITDA grew 4.6% to $507.2 cardinal arsenic compared pinch fiscal twelvemonth 2021 adjusted EBITDA, excluding divested businesses, and we had a 2022 adjusted EBITDA separator of 36.5%. Excluding divested businesses, adjusted diluted EPS grew 7.1% to $6.65 arsenic compared pinch 2021 adjusted diluted EPS. Overall, 2022 was a challenging twelvemonth for nan world economy, and specifically nan integer media marketplace. Despite various headwinds, including FX, we were capable to study maturation successful revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and adjusted diluted EPS.

On Slides 6 and 7, we person provided capacity summaries for our 2 superior sources of revenue, advertizing and subscription. As you tin spot connected Slide 6, Q4 2022, advertizing gross declined by 8% arsenic compared pinch nan anterior period. 2022 advertizing gross declined by 6% arsenic compared pinch 2021, and again, this was impacted by antagonistic trends successful nan overseas rate markets. Our nett advertizing gross retention and yearly trailing 12-month statistic that we update quarterly, was astir 92% for Q4 2022, besides reflecting nan caller pressures connected integer advertizing revenues, including FX. As defined successful nan slide, successful nan 4th quarter, Ziff Davis had 2,044 advertisers, pinch an mean quarterly gross per advertiser of much than $118,000, a akin fig to nan comparable Q4 2021 metric.

Slide 7 depicts our subscription gross performance. Q4 2022 subscription gross grew 4% arsenic compared pinch past year's capacity and was again negatively impacted by FX. Subscription revenues grew 9% during nan past 12 months arsenic compared pinch nan 2021 subscription revenues, excluding divested businesses. The array connected nan bottommost of Slide 7 includes subscription metrics for nan past 8 quarters. Sequentially, full subscription customers were fundamentally flat, chiefly reflecting maturation successful media subscriptions, offset by a diminution successful our VPN subscribers. Sequentially, our mean quarterly gross per subscriber declined by 1% to $46.33. As noted connected our anterior call, since Q3 2022, these metrics bespeak nan inclusion of a afloat 4th of our caller acquisition, LoseIt, which is characterized by a important number of monthly subscribers astatine a importantly little mean gross than nan mean of our different subscription businesses. Overall, nan acquisition of LoseIt has importantly raised our number of subscribers and lowered our mean quarterly gross per subscriber arsenic compared pinch nan anterior twelvemonth period. Our wide churn complaint accrued 26 ground points from Q3 2022 to 3.81%. This summation reflects a number of factors, including nan effect of little worth promotional vacation bundles sold by Humble Bundle successful November, which were not renewed successful December, and higher VPN churn. Additionally, nan company's Q4 2022 different revenues grew conscionable complete 30% year-over-year to $14.4 million, driven by income of Ekahau’s caller Sidekick 2, which was launched successful Q3 2022.

Slide 8 provides quarterly integrated and full gross maturation rates, which exclude nan effect of nan divested businesses successful nan applicable 2021 periods. Revenues from businesses owned for astatine slightest a afloat 12 months are included successful integrated revenue, while acquired gross relates to businesses we've owned for little than 12 months. As noted earlier, 2022 full gross growth, excluding divested businesses was 1%, again, successful portion reflecting FX headwinds. Fourth 4th 2022 integrated gross reflects a 7% diminution aliases minus 6% adjusted for FX.

Turning to our equilibrium sheet, please mention to Slide 9. Our equilibrium expanse is strong. As of nan extremity of Q4 2022, we had $653 cardinal of rate and rate equivalents, and much than $186 cardinal of short and semipermanent investments. We besides person important leverage capacity, some connected a gross and nett leverage basis. As of nan extremity of 2022, gross leverage was 2 times trailing 12 months adjusted EBITDA, and our nett leverage was 0.7 times, and only 0.3 times if you see nan worth of our financial investments. During Q4 2022, we continued to monetize our liking successful Consensus, trading 74,000 CCSI shares for gross proceeds of $4.5 million. As of December 31, 2022, we held astir 1.1 cardinal CCSI shares, and we will proceed to beryllium opportunistic pinch regards to our monetization efforts. As a reminder, we person until October 2026 to complete nan disposition of our CCSI stake. During 2022, we deployed superior to repurchase astir $181 cardinal par worth of our 4.65% elder notes and much than $71 cardinal of our communal shares. We did not repurchase further elder notes aliases communal shares during nan 4th quarter. As noted connected anterior calls, we spot a precocious worth connected nan wellness of our equilibrium sheet. We judge that this positions america powerfully to proceed to prosecute M&A investments and different superior allocation alternatives. While we did not adjacent immoderate acquisitions during nan 4th quarter, we remained highly progressive and proceed to negociate a robust pipeline of M&A activity. During 2022, we deployed $120 cardinal of superior successful support of existent and anterior play M&A activity.

Turning to Slides 11 and 12, I'd for illustration to supply a fewer further specifications relating to our guidance range. As we person discussed connected this telephone and anterior calls, nan existent operating situation remains challenging. Global macroeconomic pressures proceed to measurement connected nan purchasing decisions of our largest advertizing clients, and nan user continues to navigate nan pressures of ostentation and rising liking rates. Our businesses knowledgeable nan impacts of these and different factors successful 2022, including nan alteration successful FX rates, and our integrated gross declines were higher successful nan 2nd half of 2022 arsenic compared pinch its first half. Our guidance for 2023 reflects some nan transportation guardant effect of our 2022 results, and a measured position arsenic to really nan macroeconomy could stabilize successful nan 2nd half of 2023. The precocious extremity of our guidance scope for 2023 gross adjusted EBITDA and adjusted diluted EPS, reflects maturation rates of astir 1%, 1% and antagonistic 2% arsenic compared pinch nan unaudited results we coming today. The debased extremity reflects declines of astir 3%, 6%, and 9%, respectively. Our EPS guidance reflects nan adjusted EBITDA range, arsenic good arsenic higher liking income connected our rate balances, little liking expense, higher depreciation from our caller investments and acquired assets, and somewhat higher taxes, each arsenic compared pinch 2022. It besides reflects nan absence of nan $8 cardinal different income use that we reported successful 2022. With regards to definite specifications underlying this guidance, successful 2023, nan midpoint of our guidance reflects a debased single-digit percent diminution successful advertizing revenue, subscription gross maturation successful nan debased azygous digits, and different gross maturation of mid-single digits year-over-year. The midpoint besides reflects a debased single-digit gross diminution successful Q1 and Q2 2023, pinch gross maturation expecting to move affirmative successful nan 2nd half. This successful portion reflects nan comparison of our comparatively stronger Q1 and Q2 2022 results, arsenic good arsenic nan presumption of immoderate stabilization of nan system arsenic we attack nan extremity of 2023. Given nan seasonality of our integer media properties and nan effect of our 2nd half 2022 operating performance, we expect that astir 20% and 30% of our revenues will beryllium successful nan first 4th and 4th quarter, respectively. At nan midpoint of our range, nan institution expects to person an adjusted EBITDA separator of astir 36% for nan year. We person somewhat widened nan scope for our projected taxation complaint to an yearly complaint of betwixt 23% and 25%. Note, these rates are expected to up and down quarterly. Additional specifications related to our stock guidelines comp and anticipated stock count are outlined connected nan slides arsenic well. As noted past quarter, we knowledgeable gross pressures passim 2022 arsenic compared pinch our first expectations. However, passim 2022, we focused connected managing costs. And arsenic a result, Ziff Davis delivered adjusted EBITDA and adjusted diluted EPS maturation contempt gross pressures. As we statesman 2023, we will proceed this attraction connected managing expenses arsenic we navigate an uncertain operating environment.

Following our business outlook slides are our supplemental materials, including reconciliation statements for nan various non-GAAP measures to their nearest GAAP equivalent. This conception includes a reconciliation connected Slide 16 that reflects free rate flow. Our 2022 free rate travel was $230.3 million. Note, arsenic highlighted connected our past call, our 4th fourth is typically a seasonally stronger 4th for gross and adjusted EBITDA, but besides typically reflects little free rate travel conversion complaint arsenic a important information of our Q4 gross is expected to beryllium collected successful Q1 2023. This 4th fourth besides reflects importantly higher rate taxes arsenic compared pinch nan anterior twelvemonth period, definite different rate uses, including M&A and severance expenses, and a higher usage of moving superior arsenic compared pinch 2021. With regards to moving capital, this 4th fourth was besides a spot atypical. We are finalizing nan migration to a caller financial ERP system. As portion of this migration, we accelerated definite vendor and partner payments successful nan 4th fourth of 2022. This negatively impacted rate travel successful nan 4th quarter. We besides expect that our customer invoicing rhythm successful Q1 2023, which contains our seasonally beardown 4th fourth revenue, will return somewhat longer to complete, perchance delaying definite Q1 accounts receivables collections. These are timing issues that effect short-term free rate flow. Overall, and importantly, we proceed to judge successful nan beardown rate net imaginable of our business. While our 2022 free rate travel arsenic a ratio of adjusted EBITDA was little than 50%, we proceed to target a conversion complaint percent for our halfway business successful nan mid to precocious 50s, excluding definite non-GAAP rate expenditures, M&A payments, and different discreet uses of cash. Finally, arsenic a reminder, our 2021 free rate travel reflects contributions from some nan 2021 divested businesses, arsenic good arsenic Consensus, and arsenic a result, is not comparable to our existent continuing operations. Overall, we are proud of our 2022 performance, having achieved maturation successful a number of our cardinal financial metrics contempt nan macro environment.

With that, I would now inquire nan usability rejoin america to instruct you connected really to queue for questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

Thank you. As a reminder, slides for today's arena tin beryllium viewed astatine www.ziff.davis.com. We'll now beryllium conducting a mobility and reply session. [Operator instructions]. And nan first mobility is coming from Shweta Khajuria from Evercore ISI. Shweta, your statement is live.

Shweta Khajuria

Okay, acknowledgment for taking my question. Vivek, you mentioned successful your prepared remarks that successful Q4 you were seeing flattening of decline. So, possibly if you could remark connected really - what benignant of trends did you spot done nan 4th arsenic nan 4th went done from October done December, and past what you are seeing truthful acold arsenic of mid-February this year. You besides commented connected seeing immoderate greenish shoots. So, that's nan question. What do you mean by flattening of decline, and past what greenish shoots are you seeing correct now?

Vivek Shah

Thanks for nan question, Shweta. So, pinch respect to Q4, I deliberation we had - astatine slightest pinch nan shopping business, successful peculiar RetailMeNot, arsenic I mentioned, immoderate flimsy growth, which I deliberation was adjuvant successful offsetting immoderate of nan pressures we had successful technology. And arsenic I besides pointed out, what we typically spot successful wellness advertizing successful Q4 is simply a beautiful important merchandise of budgets that didn't really return spot successful Q4. Now, arsenic we deliberation astir 2023, I americium cautiously optimistic. It is early. Of nan advertizing business wherever we person much than a near-term view, that's really successful nan wellness business. So, successful nan wellness business, we person what are called upfronts wherever we are booking programs successful beforehand for nan remainder of nan year. It is applicable because nan wellness class for america is 40% of our advertizing revenues. So, pinch respect to that 40%, arsenic I mentioned connected nan prepared remarks, we are seeing single-digit increases year-over-year connected bookings. So, we consciousness bully astir that. If nan shopping vertical besides maintains its modicum of growth, that's nan 2nd largest advertisement category. So, those are nan pieces that springiness america immoderate instauration for cautious optimism arsenic we participate into 2023. Obviously, a batch depends connected nan wide operating situation and climate, but correct now, we consciousness that successful truth we person deed stableness and things should amended from present connected out.

Shweta Khajuria

Okay, thanks, Vivek. And if I whitethorn adhd 1 much question, please, immoderate comments connected nan - conscionable nan wide M&A environment? You mentioned you are very active, but immoderate thoughts connected timing aliases opportunities?

Vivek Shah

Yes, look, I think, again, nan activity that I mention to is really a usability of our attack to really we root deals, and we do it crossed each 7 of our platforms, and we do it astatine nan firm level too. So, you've sewage 8 organizations wrong of nan institution who are each actively looking astatine opportunities. So, it creates a beautiful important pipeline. That's not new. That's what we've ever done, but it ensures that we spot a lot. And correct now, our attraction is awesome businesses astatine adjacent prices. We do judge nan marketplace is rotating towards that constituent of view, and I deliberation that we will beryllium progressive this year. I can't springiness you circumstantial timing evidently astatine this point, but we do spot a batch and I deliberation a batch of sellers position america arsenic a awesome location because they besides look astatine our equilibrium expanse arsenic often they person opportunities that they're looking to get and adhd to their businesses. And so, I deliberation for a assortment of reasons, I deliberation we're an charismatic spot for a batch of businesses.

Shweta Khajuria

Okay. Thanks, Vivek.

Operator

Thank you. The adjacent mobility is coming from Shyam Patil from Susquehanna. your statement of live.

Jared Pomerantz

Hey guys, this is Jared connected for Shyam. Thanks for taking nan question. Thanks for each nan colour that you've provided astir nan topline and imaginable pacing arsenic we rotation done nan year. As you're reasoning astir nan bottommost line, is location thing that you could stock pinch america connected pacing there? Maybe really you're reasoning astir OpEx maturation done nan year, if this mightiness prime up a spot arsenic you expect this 2nd half to amended a bit. And past I’ve sewage 1 much aft that, if that's okay.

Vivek Shah

Yes. So, I’d conscionable say, pinch respect - and I’ll fto Bret jump successful present successful a moment. I deliberation pinch respect to margins, arsenic we said, look, I deliberation nan separator description we knowledgeable successful 2022, I deliberation was rather singular erstwhile you see nan integrated diminution that we suffered, right, adjacent to 5 points aliases astir 5 points successful nan year. And so, that often is very punitive from a bottommost statement constituent of view. So, nan truth that we were capable to thrust bottommost statement maturation notwithstanding integrated gross pressures, I deliberation is simply a awesome connection astir really we have, I think, really optimized nan costs base. That will proceed into adjacent year. Having said each of that, we are investing successful nan business astatine nan CapEx level, astatine nan OpEx level, and we're going to proceed to do that because we spot a batch of maturation opportunities. I listed a fewer of them during nan prepared remarks. So, we're going to proceed to do that. So, we're not going to beryllium overly pressured astir it, but to me, we are successful nan - arsenic we say, I deliberation successful nan guidance of 35% to 36.5% EBITDA separator range. I don't know, Bret, if there's thing you'd adhd to that?

Bret Richter

Sure, yes. And I deliberation we're conscionable being thoughtful pinch regards to our spend. As we trafficked done 2022, we evidently uncovered pressures astatine various points successful nan year, and we slowed our spending. We talked astir really we had operating disbursal savings pinch regards to our worker base, mostly done conscionable earthy attrition. We did return connected a mini action astatine nan extremity of nan year. What we want to do is find nan equilibrium of allowing each of our businesses to prosecute opportunities successful nan marketplace, and money those pursuits, but money them pinch a grade of assurance alternatively than hope. So, arsenic we spot nan marketplace being much receptive to spending successful nan lawsuit of advertizing to growth, successful nan lawsuit of subscriptions, we person dollars location to money those opportunities, but we're being thoughtful astir erstwhile to walk them.

Jared Pomerantz

Great. Thank you. And past possibly a broader image question. In nan past, we've discussed nan longer word displacement towards zero click hunt and nan imaginable there. Given each nan caller generative AI developments, really are you guys reasoning astir that astatine this point, and what type of impacts mightiness we beryllium capable to expect connected your integer media properties successful particular?

Vivek Shah

So, I deliberation you're specifically asking if generative AI turns hunt engines into reply engines. If they're reply engines, will we get click-throughs? Is that fundamentally nan question?

Jared Pomerantz

That's surely a portion of nan question, and past conscionable immoderate broader effect that you mightiness expect from that arsenic well.

Vivek Shah

Yes. So, look, I deliberation from a postulation constituent of view, depending connected immoderate nan underlying algorithms are of immoderate hunt experience, I judge each of nan hunt operators, whether it's Microsoft aliases Google, understand that nan underlying contented providers request to get value, and that worth is expressed successful postulation flow, and I don't deliberation that's going to change. If nan engines they usage and nan algorithms they usage refine nan answers, I deliberation properties for illustration ours who provide, I think, nan highest worth intelligence spot successful that equation, will do best. So, I don't position nan improvement of hunt engines aliases reply engines aliases immoderate you want to telephone them, arsenic being thing but really affirmative for precocious value contented providers who supply nan underlying accusation for that query.

Jared Pomerantz

Great. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And nan adjacent mobility is coming from Cory Carpenter from JPMorgan. Cory, your statement is live.

Cory Carpenter

Hey, acknowledgment for nan questions. I had two. Maybe, Vivek, first for you. There's been a ton of volatility successful nan advertisement market, but conscionable benignant of stepping back, really do you deliberation astir nan correct level of longer-term maturation and margins for nan business? And has your position changed present astatine all? And past secondly, connectivity has been a large agleam spot for a while, but it's besides benignant of hidden wrong nan subscription segment. Could you conscionable thief framework really large this business is, aliases possibly what its separator floor plan looks like? Thank you.

Vivek Shah

Thanks, Cory. So, look, I deliberation pinch respect to nan advertizing market, successful position of semipermanent maturation rates and separator profile, my views are unchanged. I proceed to beryllium bullish connected nan advertisement market. I proceed to beryllium bullish astir nan categories we're in, and past nan types of advertisement solutions we provide, which arsenic you know, are performance-driven. So, I deliberation if we took a non-linear position connected our advertizing business and took a multi-year view, you'd really spot that it is not inconsistent pinch nan benignant of maturation rates that we're looking for, which we've talked astir arsenic a company, we look for full maturation of 15% apical and bottommost statement pinch a substance half and half astir of integrated and inorganic. So, our views astir target maturation rates for nan institution and nan advertizing business astir that are unchanged. We've been done cycles before. I've been successful nan advertizing business now coming connected almost 30 years. I've seen this, and these pendulums do swing. And so, thing changes successful position of my views there. With respect to connectivity, evidently we don't break it retired arsenic a business unit, but I will show you that I americium incredibly excited pinch nan summation of Stephen Bye. As I described a small spot connected nan call, his inheritance is sensational. He is simply a very good respected, established, and known sanction wrong nan telecom and broadband and wireless industries generally. I deliberation this was an announcement successful that manufacture that sewage a batch of attraction and a batch of inbound calls arsenic to things that group tin do pinch us, and knowing nan broader scope of our connectivity businesses. It has ever been a maturation motor for us, but I deliberation it'll proceed to beryllium moreover much so. It does run astatine a very precocious percent margin, higher than nan mean of nan institution and astatine a maturation complaint that's higher. So, it is simply a - immoderate norm it is, it's a precocious norm of something, and I deliberation that'll continue. And past I deliberation pinch Stephen, I deliberation it's going to get to nan adjacent level, and I deliberation erstwhile that happens, we'll person a batch of absorbing options.

Cory Carpenter

Great. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. The adjacent mobility is coming from Ross Sandler from Barclays. Ross, your statement is live.

Joey Petroline

Hi, this is Joey Petroline connected for Ross. Thanks for taking nan question. So, a follow-up connected nan generative AI question. Could you benignant of talk astir really ChatGPT-type products could little nan costs of editorial contented connected nan advertizing business? And past if I tin compression successful a 2nd question. Thanks for nan breakout of class capacity wrong advertizing during 4Q. Any callouts to categories that are particularly beardown aliases anemic successful 1Q, whether that's historically, aliases what you've seen this year? Thanks again.

Vivek Shah

Sure. So, pinch respect to AI, deliberation we look astatine it successful 2 ways. One is what you described, which is generative AI. How do you usage AI technologies to assistance successful nan creation of content? And erstwhile you deliberation astir nan editorial workflow, location are a batch of elements to it, from origination of communicative idea, to duty of story, to outline of story, to drafting of story, to transcript editing of story. I surely judge that artificial intelligence has a domiciled successful parts of that editorial workflow, and we've been utilizing it and will proceed to usage it. I will opportunity though, that I deliberation for precocious value contented generation, quality positive artificial intelligence, I think, yields nan champion outcome. So, I deliberation nan reply to your mobility is that generative AI will let america to nutrient much amended contented complete nan long-term. It's a productivity summation much than thing else, which we're excited astir and we presently usage and person been using. The 2nd portion of AI, which is as, if not much breathtaking from my constituent of position for our company, is really you tin return AI models, truthful right, ChatGPT is an AI model, and really do you past train it connected proprietary data? The experiences we're each seeing correct now are training AI models connected non-proprietary wide accessible data, and you spot nan powerfulness of that. Imagine though, training AI models connected proprietary information sets not disposable to others. And I deliberation of 3 information sets wrong our institution that are very applicable to nan discussion. The first is nan connectivity dataset, nan dataset of Ookla, Ekahau, and that family of businesses. As you know, that business is simply a information business. The expertise to usage AI to make moreover greater, much frequent, and accessible insights, I deliberation is simply a large idea. If you deliberation astir our RetailMeNot and shopping business, we person a multi-merchant position into shopping behaviors, shopping postulation patterns. So, from a shopping insights and study constituent of view, training AI models connected that proprietary dataset is compelling. And past our mod business, arsenic a 3rd example, sits connected a beingness of XEO information that is very valuable, and successful fact, has already been licensed. So, fundamentally nan largest AI exemplary we've each heard of, has licensed mod information already. So, we're really successful nan business and we deliberation that has semipermanent and absorbing potential. So, some generative AI and proprietary information that AI models tin beryllium trained on.

Operator

Thank you. And nan adjacent mobility is coming from James Breen from William Blair. James, your statement is live.

James Breen

Thanks for taking nan question. Can you talk a small spot astir nan subscription business and what you're seeing there? Obviously, we've seen nan quarterly gross per sub coming down complete nan past mates of quarters. Churn is up a small bit, but wherever are you gaining and losing subs location crossed respective different businesses? Thanks.

Vivek Shah

Yes. I mean, I think, look, Jim, I deliberation successful nan subscription business, connected nan upside our connectivity, arsenic we described, continues to beryllium a agleam spot for us. On nan downside has been cybersecurity principally, and that's been successful our direct-to-consumer business, and that is mostly our VPN business. As I deliberation - arsenic we've described successful nan past, we find customer acquisition successful nan VPN abstraction challenging. The CAC LTV equation continues to evade us. It's not profitable from our constituent of view. We do tally a high-margin VPN business, astir apt successful opposition to possibly others successful nan space. One point I americium optimistic about, and I mentioned connected nan prepared remarks, is that we person improved our buying acquisition and principally taking overseas currencies - overseas connection and including different costs options that should let america to commencement acquiring extracurricular of North America. Most of nan user VPN marketplace is really extracurricular of North America, yet nan majority, nan immense mostly of our business is wrong North America. So, we person been geographically disadvantaged because we haven't - we didn't person a buying acquisition that appeals to those extracurricular of principally nan United States. So, we're hopeful that that tin thief wide buying experience. We proceed to trial different sources of customer acquisition to effort to find a CAC LTV equation that tin activity for us. I'll besides constituent out, of nan portion of nan institution that has had nan astir FX headwinds, it has besides been wrong nan cybersecurity and MarTech segment.

Bret Richter

And Jim, nan only point I'd add, your remark astir immoderate of nan trends, is conscionable a reminder that these are benignant of an amalgamation aliases a consolidation of different businesses crossed nan institution connected an inorganic basis. And if you look astatine nan number of subscribers and nan mean quarterly gross per subscriber, successful nan mediate of 2022, we added LoseIt, and LoseIt arsenic a business wrong our wellness and wellness business that is simply a subscription business and characterized by a ample measurement of subscribers astatine a debased mean gross per subscriber. So, we brought those successful in nan 2nd 4th for I judge astir a month. And past successful Q3 and Q4, those were afloat quarters of that change. So, that did person a much important effect connected nan quarter-over-quarter changes than really immoderate different factor.

James Breen

Great. Thanks.

Operator

[Operator instructions]. And nan adjacent mobility is coming from Ygal Arounian from Citigroup. Ygal, your statement is live.

Ygal Arounian

Hey, bully morning, guys. Vivek, I want to spell backmost to what you led to telephone disconnected pinch and talked astir focusing connected integrated growth, reallocation of resources. And I conjecture nan advertisement marketplace is good understood present astatine this constituent arsenic we person gone done net and heard a batch of commentary. Can you talk a small spot much astir what you're doing and nan things you tin control, possibly really you guys are mounting yourselves up to use amended arsenic we rebound and benignant of nan things that are happening wrong nan statement extracurricular of nan macro?

Vivek Shah

Yes, no, look, it's a awesome question. And again, I’d spell backmost to categories because we do talk astir nan advertisement marketplace arsenic a monolith, and arsenic you know, it's not a monolith. It's sewage different pockets and it's sewage different dynamics and different categories. Given that 40% of our advertizing business is wellness and wellness, it is worthy really focusing there. And that's wherever we judge nan solutions we're building for pharma, nan quality of nan pharma pipeline, nan pharmas clasp of really targeted advertizing distant from wide marketplace people and television, each benefits us. And so, we're focused crossed nan committee connected ways to create advertisement solutions for nan pharma category. I'll besides show you that portion of our wellness and wellness business is really recruitment advertizing for doctors and nurses. And arsenic you whitethorn know, successful nan healthcare industry, location is simply a immense labour shortage, peculiarly astir nurses. And so, our expertise to thief healthcare and wellness systems find nurses done our platforms and done recruitment advertizing solutions, is different example. And I deliberation I mentioned that. That's our Health eCareers business. And past successful our shopping business, wherever we person seen really awesome occurrence is pinch membership. So, historically, pinch RetailMeNot, which has had a important magnitude and continues to person a important magnitude of users who travel to nan platform, whether it's nan website aliases nan app to find a coupon codification to past transact and we get compensated connected utilization of a code, that will continue. But our rank business, wherever it's mostly cashback, arsenic good arsenic nan browser extension, nan portion economics location are ace compelling. And so, we are investing successful improving nan merchandise experience, removing clash successful signup, and making it ace simple, and investing successful personnel acquisition. So, those are conscionable a fewer examples of wherever I deliberation we tin power what we're doing to amended position ourselves successful nan wide advertisement market.

Ygal Arounian

Okay, that's helpful. Thanks. And past shifting conscionable complete to cybersecurity for a second, tin you update america connected nan income org and nan benignant of caller go-to-market strategy and really that's evolving and if it's starting to amended nan trends and results there?

Vivek Shah

Thanks. Yes, no, perceive successful nan B2B portion of nan cybersecurity business, and I conscionable want to punctual everyone that it's nan B2C part, which is mostly IPVanish and nan VPN businesses wherever we're having our important struggles. But successful nan B2B information business, nan caller income org started to deed its stride really successful Q4, a batch of bully logo wins for our email information offering. We've sewage a merchandise called Safe Send that has signed a bunch of multi-year deals pinch immoderate important endeavor customers actually. So, we're happy pinch that. We've sewage immoderate caller partners and distributors, some successful nan United States and successful Europe. Our email - conscionable wide nan email information business, email is nan starring onslaught vector, and it's nan superior transportation system for phishing and ransomware and different malware attacks. And I would opportunity that of our cybersecurity offerings, I deliberation our email information offerings are nan strongest. So, bully advancement successful B2B, continuing to claw and deliberation done B2C, and I deliberation we'll get there. I deliberation we'll - erstwhile we find a look that useful connected nan B2C side, I deliberation immoderate absorbing things will commencement to create for cybersecurity.

Ygal Arounian

Great. Thanks truthful much.

Operator

Thank you. The adjacent mobility is coming from Rishi Jaluria from RBC. Rishi, your statement is live.

Rishi Jaluria

Oh, wonderful. Hey, Vivek. Hey, Bret. Thanks truthful overmuch for taking my question. I’ll support it to 1 question, which is conscionable drilling a small spot much into nan cybersecurity MarTech business. Would emotion to perceive a small spot much astir benignant of what you've seen truthful acold from a macro perspective. And for simplicity's sake, we tin support it astatine nan B2B level and benignant of portion retired nan IPVanish business. But what person you seen truthful acold successful position of churn and possibly moreover businesses that are conscionable benignant of disappearing? And possibly much importantly, arsenic we deliberation modeling 2023, what benignant of assumptions are you making from a macro position connected those businesses? Thanks.

Vivek Shah

Yes, no, each bully questions. I would opportunity that pinch respect to churn successful B2B cybersecurity, we don't spot overmuch of it. It's very sticky, right? Once a institution installs immoderate of our solutions, they mostly enactment installed for a while. The switching costs and nan trouble tin beryllium significant. So, we don't spot it there. Within MarTech, because we person a much of an SMB audience, location are immoderate churn dynamics wherever conscionable business nonaccomplishment leads to not needing to do really immoderate much email marketing. But what I will opportunity that we're excited astir from a Mar’s constituent of position is that we're building technologies to thief our customers build their email lists, connect signals to their email initiatives, and truthful that they're amended targeted and getting amended ROI, integrating demographic information crossed nan larger demographic. The information guidance level of Ziff Davis is fundamentally going to beryllium plugged into our oculus interaction and campaigner units truthful that location tin beryllium much penetration into nan various customer databases that we person pinch our customers. So, there's a batch of different things going connected successful some cybersecurity and MarTech. I deliberation pinch respect to - possibly I'll fto Bret talk a small spot astir conscionable subscription gross successful wide and benignant of really we're reasoning astir guidance and wherever we deliberation subscription gross whitethorn autumn for 2023.

Bret Richter

Yes, I mean, we gave immoderate colour connected that arsenic portion of our prepared remarks. I mean, we're looking astatine subscription gross arsenic benignant of a contributor successful 2023, and we're projecting maturation successful nan debased azygous digits. And I deliberation it's important to benignant of almost widen nan lens, because we've been talking astir our B2B go-to-market attack for respective quarters now. And it's nan timeline benignant of connected track. Like you spell backmost to nan extremity of 2021, we benignant of re-envisioned a go-to-market strategy location astir nan extremity of nan first quarter, opening of nan 2nd quarter. We bring successful leadership. Q2, Q3, we're rebuilding nan go-to-market squad truthful existent benignant of provender connected nan Street, if you will, to scope retired to customers, simultaneously pinch upgrading elements of our merchandise set. Vivek conscionable noted immoderate of those products we're bringing to market. And past arsenic we get into nan 4th quarter, we commencement to spot immoderate of nan fruits that labour opening to grow, and we participate into 2023 pinch nan beginnings of momentum. So, we judge if you look crossed our subscription revenue, there's a resistance pinch regards to our user privateness business. But past we've talked astir really excited we are astir connectivity. We've talked astir immoderate of nan momentum that we're seeing successful B2B wrong cyber and MarTech. We're excited astir our LoseIt acquisition, some from a subscription standpoint, but besides nan expertise to grow nan gross guidelines location by adding advertising. We haven't had that business nether our activity for a afloat twelvemonth yet. Contributions successful nan gaming market, there's excitement successful our subscription businesses, and being a business that's levered to nan integer advertizing marketplace and nan integer advertizing marketplace being truthful delicate to macro activity, we deliberation it's a very beardown affirmative that a important information of our gross has a subscription characteristic.

Rishi Jaluria

All right, great. Really helpful. Thank you truthful overmuch guys.

Operator

Thank you. And nan adjacent mobility is coming from Jon Tanwanteng from CJS Securities. Jon, your statement is live.

Jon Tanwanteng

Hi guys, acknowledgment for squeezing maine in. Vivek, 1 for you. You mentioned getting person to much and bigger deals successful nan M&A pipeline and astir absorbing but possibly successful a vertical. What benignant of standard and returns would you request to spot to return connected further consequence and bandwidth request of moving different business correct now and if it would request to beryllium synergistic pinch immoderate of nan different PUs to get there. Just thief america understand what you're looking astatine and nan kinds of opportunities that are retired there.

Vivek Shah

Yes, look, I deliberation if we were going successful connected immoderate platform, it would apt beryllium aligned pinch conscionable our wide taxable of determination media. We for illustration being successful a position wherever providing contented and devices to pass precocious worth decisions, acquisition decisions. That's why it's a batch of what we do, whether it's successful wellness aliases it's successful exertion aliases it's successful gaming aliases it's successful shopping. We for illustration to beryllium astatine nan transaction. We for illustration to beryllium betwixt purchaser and seller. That's wherever we tin extract nan champion worth and rent. And so, obviously, location are a batch of categories successful which we don't do that. And so, I deliberation that's really we would deliberation astir successful a platform. I deliberation it would person to beryllium thing that we do judge that we person exertion and we person know-how and we person business models to create benignant of an unfair advantage. It can't conscionable beryllium a bully business that we're adding to nan portfolio. There needs to beryllium worth creation that is conscionable successful excess of that. It has to beryllium nan first thing, but we request to person a way to creating worth that is unsocial to us, that is simply a usability of know-how, a usability of skill, a usability of exertion platform, a usability of activity that we whitethorn person present that we tin deploy into nan business.

Jon Tanwanteng

Okay. Great. Thanks a lot.

Operator

Thank you. There are nary different questions successful queue astatine this time. I would now for illustration to manus nan telephone backmost to Bret Richter for immoderate closing remarks.

Bret Richter

Thank you, Paul. We admit everybody joining america coming for our Q4 and our fiscal twelvemonth 2022 net telephone and results. Our upcoming convention information is elaborate our Investor Relations website. We precocious put retired an a merchandise connected that, and nan specifications are there. We dream to spot immoderate of you successful nan coming weeks and proceed our dialogue. Thank you each and person a awesome day.

Operator

Thank you. This does reason today's conference. You whitethorn disconnect your lines astatine this clip and person a awesome day. Thank you for your participation.

Editor: Naga



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