In talking to Dan it turns out that the BOD didn't come to the UK when the full year results came out. The plan had always been to bring the full BOD and senior management across for the AGM week. Tosca and RG had already had their 'one on one' with the full board the day before the AGM. (Hence no point in turning up) The same goes for institutional presentations.
Excellent summary so thank you. In brief feedback Andy had not only done her homework on BLNX but had also been assisting Dan in making the transition to RTMN from a marketing perspective. To complement your comment on Richard he is an accountant as well as WPP employment....useful adjuncts.
I too was disappointed that Dwight was not there.....I was very impressed by him last year. The comment was that his time was better spent back at base dealing with crucial issues.....I hope that is true as he was integral as part of the Xenovia package coming over.
May I suggest you put both your posts onto the new RTMN site in case others do not think of tracking back! Look forward to progress and meeting you again. Keep us informed of your thoughts as events unfold.
Herewith my more detailed notes from Thursdays AGM. I have not checked these notes with anyone, and Im sure I must have forgotten some things any omissions/mistakes are mine. The numbered points given broadly refer to the numbers of my pre-AGM questions.
Despite the somewhat technical content of some of what Ive written below here, the AGM itself was a surprisingly unstuffy event. I thought the presentation flowed well, Brian was confident in delivery, and the discussions afterwards were pretty open and informal, which I liked. My only regrets were that I didnt get to talk with Andy about her impressions in the new role, and I think we missed Dwight Ringdahl. I especially appreciate the time Ed Reginelli gave me in conversation, and I was pleased to meet and talk with Richard Nunn, our new Chief Revenue Officer - to explain the Chief Revenue Officers role, and its significance. Ive already posted on this.
Further Technical Notes From The AGM and Discussions:
1 &2. What relevance Quantcast?. Yes, I asked this question. And Brian confirmed what Ive posted here before; namely, that Quantcast page views only gives a very partial/ incomplete picture of our true monetisation opportunity, he talked around that slide 24 of the year-end results presentation, highlighting in particular the 20 billion monthly monetisation opportunity in our controlled first look reach, where he said the fill rate was currently 8-9%.. (By contrast, Quantcast only shows around 4 billion or so monthly page views, it excludes mobile in-apps from page views, it excludes most of that syndicated extended reach traffic; and of course it doesnt show fill/monetisation rates).
In summary, the total uniques (multi-user devices) and people traffic number in Quantcast are the best numbers to look at as a proxy for our monetisation opportunity, especially the total uniques - since that takes account of the fact that most people own and use more than one device. I think most of us who look at Quantcast will look at the people and/or uniques traffic number for the month first and ignore the page views number and that;s the right approach to using Quantcast.
3. What is the main driver to a recovery in fill rates going forward? Undoubtedly, the full leveraging of the premium ad formats (video, rich media, native especially) into our exchange offering, including the additional programmatic value-adding extras (viz data overlay, analytics, targeting, etc). This would also point to higher margins and CPMs going forward. So, is this happening to plan? As you will recall, the wording in the year-end results the integration and outlook statements - was very positive on this. Brian reaffirmed this positivity, he told us that core revenues are expected to ramp up by more than the decline in non-core revenues going forward. He was quite enthusiastic about continuing these quarterly updates too He said that these will continue at least through the rest of the year, I welcome that, Ive found them useful, and I hope they will also show the trend and progress on fill rates vs opportunity across display, mobile, video impressions bid queries to the exchange. (Remember our monthly opportunity is now said to be 100 billion plus monthly impressions queries to the exchange).
4. How can we win mobile traffic where competitor SDKs are installed? Was discussed we win traffic through network mediation on rival SDKs; also integration of all these new demand and supply side platforms in the exchange has brought in a lot of new syndicated traffic and demand, including mobile and video in the extended reach. And, in addition, as Brian explained to the AGM (by referring to the middle part of that slide 24 again, from the year-end results presentation), we have 5 billion monthly first look mobile impressions bid queries to the exchange in our controlled reach (that I understand is referring to where our mobile SDK is installed, I presume Moat An
The best news to come out of this AGM, as I see it, is that our company is now gearing itself up for organic growth, including beyond the U.S. This makes sense we have an international reach through our RhythmMax end-to-end exchange, and many of our premium brand/advertiser partners are international, not just U.S.
Thats the context in which the recent appointment of Richard Nunn, as Chief Revenue Officer, has taken place. Readers should note that the role of Chief Revenue Officer is one of the top executive positions in the company, at the next level down from the Board. I was introduced to Richard (by Ed Reginelli) in the discussions after the main AGM. That was a great opportunity for me to find out how Richard defines his role, and I will share this with you. (These comments - as always - are mine alone; nothing I write has been cross-checked with anyone else, so any errors/omissions are mine alone).
You ask: What is a Chief Revenue Officer? For those shareholders who (like me) are new to the meaning/importance of the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) role, check out this short (1-page) article by another CRO:
The title is still largely (but by no means exclusively) a SaaS and Silicon Valley thing. .Building scalable and sustainable revenue generation is the best way to gain first-mover advantage in a new category .Competitors will come, but a CRO is the best chance you have to dominate a market first and fastest.
So you can see that the role of CRO is very much a senior part of the executive team, and it requires a strong inter-disciplinary skill set to be successful.
Richard told me that he will also be driving forward the international expansion of our integrated offering, not just U.K., but through Europe and ASEAN.
This will be a small team, London-based, 5 or 6 people Richard said its not and will not be people-intensive, because its about leveraging the international scope of our cloud-based worldwide RhythmMax exchange capability and pushing other parts of the business to support that aim. From a revenue viewpoint, that sounds to me like its programmatic direct/guaranteed were talking about thats part of our core programmatic revenue to be contrasted with the low-tech, people-intensive manual direct sales expansion of competitors like Rocket Fuel, and others, that Ive talked about before these competitors lacking our full-stack programmatic end-to-end exchange capability across premium ad formats and channels.
So Richard is not just a marketer - if you think that, youve completely misunderstood the CRO role. Richard previously worked as COO (Chief Operating Officer) at both Powerlinks and Coull (please check the links given in postscript below), and he brings to us a lot of make it happen experience and knowledge. Richards skill-mix is inter-disciplinary he also comes across as a strong technical person in the best way, excellent communicator, no difficulty explaining to me the relevance - or not - of Header Bidding to our business in response to my question about that. And in answer to Largeys earlier proposed AGM question on this iii board : Have the BOD been actively trying to promote us to institutional investors like much of the competition? that will, Richard tells me, also be an important part of his role as Chief Revenue Officer. (And in my mind, that also explains how this role differs from the days of the U K sales office under Don Hamilton before it was closed).
I am impressed. The creation of a role like this tells you what the BOD think about our longer-term prospects and direction. It also suggests that the ongoing building of our RhythmMax exchange is coming to a successful outcome remember we are still waiting for those high value, high impact ad formats like video, mobile and native to be fully scaled into the exchange (including completion
I will be interested in what Richard said about header bidding and what approach RhythmOne has taken.
Obviously you had a good discussion with him on it when you say "Richard also gave me the gen on Header Bidding in answer to my specific question to him on that."
Obviously header bidding has become a major issue and can increase revenues but it can also create latency problems so I wonder how efficient the supercomputer is in handling it.
The following is a good description of header bidding and shows how page loads can slow down because of all the multiple steps you need to deliver the ad. It also highlights the issues with latency and how it affects delays but it says latency, in the main, is a myth.
Thank you, Big Bear, for this informative and illuminating feedback on the AGM. I, for one, would welcome the 1,841 words of further detail that you are prepared to share with fellow BLNX (whoops, RTHM) travellers. I look forward to your piece later today on Richard Nunn.
Herewith a summary of my thoughts on Thursdays AGM.
I have also written a separate post about the appointment of Richard Nunn, as our new Chief Revenue Officer, based in London, as thats a great piece of news, and I dont want to lose it in the flow of these AGM musings.
This was the first time Id been to a blinkx/RhythmOne AGM. It was certainly a worthwhile experience great to meet up with other investors too, and to meet the management team. (This was the first time Id been to a blinkx/RhythmOne AGM).
In general, as others have said, the vibes were positive. Brian gave a confident presentation and I think most of us came away feeling more positive about our shareholdings and prospects than before. The news of the name change on the same day was further icing on the cake, underlining the new beginning .
I dont think anyone who went there seriously thinks that our company has put itself up for sale or is about to entertain a lowball bid from Tosca or indeed anyone the general theme seems to be gearing ourselves up for organic growth, especially as these final integration milestones are now being completed in the RhythmMax exchange, plus the appointment of a Chief Revenue Officer, with a small London-based team, to drive the business forward internationally.
And, by the way, talking of Tosca and RG, I didnt see anyone at the meeting (about 50 attendees?) that looked like them if they were there, they kept themselves quiet, and they didnt vote since voting figures were only about 7% of the total shareholder base. Brian was asked about the relations with Tosca I forget his exact words, but he was very comfortable with them, the relationship is very supportive. I took that to mean that Tosca is happy with the way things are going, and happy to let Brian and the team continue to run the show.
Whereas I did not get the chance to ask all my questions at the AGM itself, (only time for the 2 about Quantcast, and the no upper limit profit outlook question) there was plenty of opportunity for more questions after the main meeting. I found that many of my questions/comments were covered that way. I spoke at some length with Ed Reginelli, our Chief Financial Officer whos great to talk with, and has I realised been a key driver in pushing the changes restructuring/cost savings that have marked us out as following a different trajectory than many of our listed competitors in this industry over the past year. Ed also introduced me to Richard Nunn, our new Chief Revenue Officer, based in London who explained the Chief Revenue Officers role, as he sees it, and Richard also gave me the gen on Header Bidding in answer to my specific question to him on that. As I say, Ive written a separate post about this Chief Revenue Officer role, to follow shortly.
Brian reaffirmed to the meeting that the growth in core revenues is expected to more than the offset the decline in non-core revenues, as core programmatic revenues continue to ramp up over the year. That being so, and assuming that these targeted $40 million cost savings come fully to fruition, and that we maintain or improve our 40% gross margin (which I think we will), then we should, in my view, be comfortably in the realm of positive adjusted EBITDA profit for the FY2017 year. But I must emphasise thats my view, it has NOT been specifically endorsed - or denied - by Ed or anyone I spoke to at the meeting!
Indeed, in answer to my specific question about no upper limit given for adjusted EBITDA, Brian did not expand on the previous guidance given in the outlook statement.
My typed - and final - appendix notes to the AGM cover another 1,841 words below this page. Are you up for this? These notes are fairly comprehensive/detailed, I think they do cover answers/comments to most of my pre-AGM questions. and I am more than happy to post these notes to the board here if you wish. But its more technical stuff about Quantcast, fi
Delighted to meet you on Thursday and Dan was very complimentary on your knowledge and understanding of the business. As you know I had to rush off and missed all the interpersonal chat and I believe they were happy to stay. My brief comment is that Brian was more confident than previous years. The Chairman handled the questions well. Andy....the new NED did her own SWOT analysis before joining and Richard Nunn comes with an excellent cv and has refused options with other better known companies. He has been with WPP.
The CFO re..affirmed that the intention is to be at least EBIDTA positive this year and there are no more skeletons in the cupboard. Last year he said that there would be major consolidation and Rocketfuel is a good example. It went for growth over profitability and since then has moved from being valued at over 2B to near 100m and changed the top management. We have stayed cash rich, adapted to the rapidly changing market and have kept and enhanced the team. This past year has been difficult but he is optimistic.Suranga said that success not only needs the technology but that the team has to be a united one and he feels they have that as well as the technology. And you had nearly 2 hours chat than me and I have not brought my summary with me.I continue to remain a shareholder and look forward to your summary of events
So very tight around 11-13 (and presumably 2 or 3 places lower given R1's recent rise) but then quite a gap to SOVRN at 10. Top 6 also very tightly bunched.
Another cosmetic change introduced today. R1 appears to have renamed the RhythmXchange segment in Quantcast as RhythmMax, which seems very sensible. So RhythmXchange drops to zero on 17th June and RhythmMax suddenly appears - don't know if this might cause some data funnies over the next 30 days.
See RNS of 16th June on name change. What you have asked is answered in this extract:
"The Company's name will change to RhythmOne plc upon registration at Companies House and trading in the Company's ordinary shares under the new name is anticipated to commence with effect from 17 June 2016. The Company's London Stock Exchange Tradable Instrument Display Mnemonic ("TIDM") will change to RTHM. The Company's ISIN and SEDOL numbers for the ordinary shares will remain unchanged."
@Oilovlam, That would a signal for me to sell. It's not meant as advice. I had positions in FBT, HNR and many others. They spiked in a few days and now pulling back. I bought Quindell around 25p, sold at 50-60p, but saw it go up more. So sometimes it can be better to hold.
"Quick move to 52p and I'm looking at moving on."
Largey, do you really think that there will be a rapid rise to 52p? I think if it got anywhere near there would be a mass exodus towards the door.....even the big shareholders may be tempted to cash some in at that price.
What would a chartist say. I'm guessing that 30p would be an important step towards your 52p target.
Drunk, it was a long time ago, what are the chances of getting Guiness on prescription now? It seems that alcohol is the new tobacco. I wonder what the NHS will want to stop next that the population enjoys doing?
Happy with the AGM (and the bag). Good vibe from management and the directors I thought (leaving aside some personal dissatisfaction with the way they managed my question inviting them to share any "lessons learned" from past acquisitions, given the recent write-offs). The informal session finished about 1pm so more than ample time to ask questions of and hear views from those there. Shame Dwight wasn't in the room, but other than that a good turnout from blinkx I thought.
Have bought a few more as a result.
Good also to meet some of the other posters at the AGM. I look forward to Big Bear's debrief on Quantcast in due course, should he choose to post one...
Drunk, you are right that Guiness was ruined by chilling the stuff. But when it was warm there was a lot of wastage and it took a long time to get a pint. I remember going to Ireland - must have been in the early 80's - and the Guiness was lined up along the bar as it settled, wipe off the head with a knife, settle again, in a long production line. Tasted good though.
My granddad was in hospital around the same time and he got bottled Guiness on the NHS. We knew he was a gonner when he left untouched bottles under his bed. This was a man who loved a pint.
Many years earlier he found a bottle of stout under the sink at home....took a deep swig, before realising it was bleach that Grandma used to clean the drains....she laughed about that. He wasn't so happy!!
"They missed an opportunity here to reconnect with disaffected shareholders by inviting them to suggest one on which they all could vote."
Drunk, I wonder what it would have been named if it went to a mass vote....something akin to Boaty McBoatface....which would be perfect.
And thanks oilovlam - a pint of Guinness would've done by way of a fee. But not extra cold as I find it takes the edge of the flavour. I say a pint but I actually prefer the bottled stuff as they roast the barley. Very yummy that and good for the blood (not so the structural support of the khazi if taken to excess).
If ever you overdo it on the old black elixir, by the way, to such an extent that you end up practically ferromagnetic, I'd recommend Ceylon tea. It's a little hard to get (unlike the aberration that is Darjeeling, for instance) but has the highest tannin content of just about any available commercially. And tannin - as we all know (right?) - counters the potentially deleterious effect of excess iron in the heart.
Still carp name, though. They missed an opportunity here to reconnect with disaffected shareholders by inviting them to suggest one on which they all could vote. That's what I'd have done. Either that or leave it to the omniscient (and omnipotent) one with his gelatinised gonads.
Like how the average of the guesses at the weight of a bull of 10000 townies who've never even seen one will statistically beat the best guesses of a smallish panel of expert. Backfired a bit on Bowie, however, that time everyone seemed to suggest The Laughing Gnome.
Drunk, a very good idea of yours....what was your consultancy fee....a couple of hundred thousand....dollars of course?
There are probably lots of reasons for a name change, a couple spring to mind:
1) The R1 software team are now the driving force within 'Blinkx' and will be happier developing under the new name.
2) A name change is an easy way for the management to signal a new start....and hopefully make people forget the mess that Blinkx was in after the short attack & missing the shift to mobile advertising.
Oh dear...the 'Almighty One' is still trying to make the most of Quantcast when everybody else has moved on, realising it is a confusing waste of time. Blinkx themselves pointed us towards Quantcast but the data has been up & down so much that nobody trusts what they see and there is little or no correlation between the Quantcast figures and profitability.
Quantcast was a bit of excitement for a brief time, but it never delivered IMO. 'The Almighty One' is still snuffling around like a pig after a truffle.
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