The Most Insightful Data From 29 Media, Marketing and Tech Companies’ 2019 Q3 Earnings Calls

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In early 2017, I was helping a client, and we were amazed that Facebook revenue was growing so much. I read about the revenue increase in one of the many trades, then I stumbled upon the Facebook earnings call and was hooked.

I was on the edge of my seat listening about the quarter. I was blown away with the amount of data that the company (CEO and CFO) shared on these earnings call. Then I realized that what I read in the trades was very top line and focused on revenue, and there was other great data that they never talked about that I was interested in.

Once I got going I realized there was also a story after I listened to all the calls. So I put it together into a quarterly newsletter, which Adweek will share each quarter in various iterations.

It’s a pithy, curated analysis of public companies with a focus on advertising and now subscriptions. Twenty-nine companies were analyzed and all the financial crap was removed for the third quarter of 2019.

a red and black background with a dollar sign on the left that says third quarter 2019 overall insights
  • Facebook, Google and Amazon are poised for the most long term advertiser growth, powered by their self-serve, machine learning and attribution-driven platforms tailored for the long tail of always-on advertisers.
  • Netflix is the clear leader in the streaming wars while Disney+ is still many years behind, but with more potential than any other company in the ecosystem.
  • Smart companies manage the business for the long term and not on a quarterly basis—though only a few companies really do this.
  • Intellectual property is driving growth and investment throughout these companies and more of a focus than ever.
  • SVOD companies think that subscription is the ideal strategy, and AVOD companies think advertising is the way to go—I still believe that wealthy households will always find ways to avoid advertising in video content.
  • Too many entertainment choices in the market, too much content—it cannot continue at this torrid pace.
  • Only one mention of TikTok—I thought there would be more.
  • More commerce to offset advertising declines is a recurring theme.
  • OTT and video discussed everywhere throughout the conversations, especially the Q&A portion of the webcasts.
  • Advertiser sentiment remains strong, even though ratings continue to decline, though no company talks about rating decreases; in fact, every TV company continues to say they are No. 1 in ratings.
  • Self-serve auction dynamics work—all companies need to do this soon.
  • Advertisers continue to move to self-serve companies like Facebook and Google; these platforms provide businesses with free tools that previously only the largest marketers could access.
  • Amazon seems to really be building out its self-serve platform for the long term.
  • Marketers move to more measurable advertising, with attribution more important than ever.
  • Every company needs a strong COO specialized in ad sales, especially Twitter.
  • Lots of NFL talk and the power of the NFL brand
  • Both Spotify and Twitter had significant ad-serving issues—inexcusable in today’s world.
  • Podcasting was mentioned often, but revenue is very small and niche.
  • Marketing, when done well, really works.
  • Once again, digital impressions are growing on the platforms.
  • Disney+ with many mentions by the other companies
  • Fourth-quarter TV scatter market appears to be strong once again.
  • Large platforms still have self-serve always on SMB long tail of advertisers, and traditional ad-supported companies are lumpy with events and large deals coming and going.
  • Some digital publishers like J2 Global and DotDash are actively looking for acquisitions.
  • Facebook is now paying some publishers for content. Apple News also paying publishers for content, though Apple News does not appear to be growing.
  • Google really needs to provide more visibility into YouTube—only true self-serve OTT/CTV play.
  • Advanced marketing platforms of the big TV companies are performing very well, with strong year-over-year growth and high CPMs.
  • Lots of political advertising talk—though no significant revenue yet.
  • Analyst questions seem better this time around: many questions focused on the streaming wars and content production.

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