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Pinterest overtakes Twitter – reports stellar results

Pinterest has cemented its place in the big league of social networks, as it reaches a landmark in active users and grows revenue by almost half.

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Pinterest, the image-sharing social network, has edged past Twitter in monthly active users (MAUs) for the first time. Its financial results for the third quarter of 2019, ending 30 September 2019, reveals it now has 322-million MAUs. 

The last time Twitter reported the number, in February, it had 321-million. It announced at the time that it would stop reporting MAUs, apparently because the number was consistently declining and gave an inaccurate picture of the health of the business. Twitter now reports monetisable Daily Active Users (mDAU), which refers to people who use the site or app directly and not through third-party apps, meaning they can be targeted with ads. Its Q3 results show a 145-million mDAU total, up 17% from the previous year.

South Africa has matched Pinterest’s global growth, with the latest SA Social Media Landscape 2020 study, shortly to be released by World Wide Worx and Ornico, revealing 3.7-million active users in this country.

“In Q3, we redesigned Pinterest to make the service more intuitive and improved recommendations quality to help people discover new ideas they didn’t know about before,” said Ben Silbermann, Pinterest CEO and Co-founder. “We are also expanding the number of shoppable products on Pinterest, which makes it easy for our users to go from inspiration to action.”

“In the third quarter, revenue grew 47% year over year and MAUs grew 28% to 322 million. We saw double-digit user growth in nearly all international countries,” said Todd Morgenfeld, Pinterest CFO. “We are thrilled to serve Pinterest ads in 28 markets currently, compared to seven at the end of 2018. Pinterest also realized adjusted EBITDA profitability in Q3.”

Q3 2019 Financial Highlights

The following table summarizes our consolidated financial results (in thousands, except percentages, unaudited):

20192018% Change
Revenue$279,703$190,19747
Net loss$(124,732)$(18,874)(561)
Non-GAAP net income (loss)*$5,96$(14,912)140
Adjusted EBITDA*$3,871$(13,426)129
Adjusted EBITDA margin*1%(7)%

* For more information on these non-GAAP financial measures, please see “―About non-GAAP financial measures” and the tables under “―Reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial results” included at the end of this release.

Q3 2019 Other Highlights

The following table sets forth our revenue, MAUs and average revenue per user (“ARPU”) based on the geographic location of our users (in millions, except ARPU and percentages, unaudited):

 Three Months Ended
September 30,
 20192018 % Change
Revenue – Global$280$190 47
Revenue – United States$251$18139 
Revenue – International$28$9212 
    
MAUs – Global322 25128 
MAUs – United States87 80 8
MAUs – International 235171 38
    
ARPU – Global$0.90$0.79 14
ARPU – United States$2.93$2.33 26
ARPU – International$0.13$0.06127

Full year 2019 outlook

  • Total revenue is expected to be between $1,100 million and $1,115 million, compared to our prior forecast of $1,095 million and $1,115 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $(30) million and $(10) million, compared to our prior forecast of $(50) million and $(25) million.*

* With respect to projected 2019 Adjusted EBITDA, we are unable to prepare a quantitative reconciliation without unreasonable efforts due to the high variability, complexity and low visibility with respect to certain items such as taxes and interest income that we are unable to quantify and that would be required to reconcile projected Adjusted EBITDA to net loss, the nearest GAAP equivalent. We expect the variability of these items to have a potentially unpredictable and potentially significant impact on future GAAP financial results, and, as such, we also believe that any reconciliations provided would imply a degree of precision that would be confusing or misleading to investors. For more information on this non-GAAP financial measure, please see “―About non-GAAP financial measures.”

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Alexa can now read all messages

For the first time, an Alexa skill is available that makes it possible to listen to any kind of message while driving

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For the first time, Alexa users can now hear all their messages and email read aloud.

Amazon’s Alexa has become a household name. The world’s most popular virtual assistant is getting smarter every day and now, with Amazon Echo Auto, it’s in cars too. 

“In today’s highly connected world, messaging in the form of emails, texts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and work channels like Slack, are integral to our daily routine,” says Barrie Arnold, chief revenue officer at ping. “However, distracted driving is responsible for more than 25% of car crashes and thousands of preventable fatalities every year.” 

ping, a specialist in voice technology founded by Arnold and South African Garin Toren, has developed a new Alexa skill as a companion to its patented smartphone app, that enables any message type to be read aloud. Designed for safety, productivity and convenience, “pingloud” is the first skill of its kind for keeping users connected when they need a hand or an extra pair of eyes.

“The ping Alexa skill is specifically designed to help drivers stay off their phones while giving them exactly what they want – access to their messages.” says Toren, ping CEO. 

Opening up Alexa to developers has resulted in an explosion of new skills available either for free or for a fee that unlocks premium services or features. These tools magnify the usefulness of Alexa devices beyond common tasks like asking for the weather, playing music or requesting help on a homework assignment. According to App Annie, the most downloaded apps in 2019 were Facebook Messenger, Facebook’s main app and WhatsApp, highlighting the importance of messaging. 

“The ping Android app is available worldwide from the Google Pay Store, reading all messages out loud in 30 languages,” says Toren. “The iOS version is in global beta testing with the US launch coming very soon.” 

Once you’ve signed up for ping, it takes a few seconds to link with Alexa, enabling all messages and emails to be read aloud by a smart speaker or Echo Auto device. Simply say, “Hey Alexa, open pingloud.” ping links an account to a voice profile so unauthorised users with access to the same Alexa cannot ask for the authorised user’s messages.

All major message types are supported, including Texts/SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, Slack, Telegram, Twitter DM’s, Instagram, and all email types. Promotional and social emails are not read by default.

*For more information, visit www.pingloud.com

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Coronavirus to hit 5G

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Global 5G smartphone shipments are expected to reach 199 million units in 2020, after disruption caused by the coronavirus scare put a cap on sales forecasts, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global 5G smartphone shipments will grow more than tenfold from 19 million units in 2019 to 199 million in 2020. The 5G segment will be the fastest-growing part of the worldwide smartphone industry this year. Consumers want faster 5G smartphones to surf richer content, such as video or games. We forecast 5G penetration to rise from 1 percent of all smartphones shipped globally in 2019 to 15 percent of total in 2020.”

Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “China, United States, South Korea, Japan and Germany are by far the largest 5G smartphone markets this year. The big-five countries together will make up 9 in 10 of all 5G smartphones sold worldwide in 2020. However, other important regions, like India and Indonesia, are lagging way behind and will not be offering mass-market 5G for at least another year or two.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The global 5G smartphone industry is growing quickly, but the ongoing coronavirus scare and subsequent economic slowdown will put a cap on overall 5G demand this year. The COVID-19 outbreak is currently restricting smartphone production in Asia, disrupting supply chains, and deterring consumers from visiting retail stores to buy new 5G devices in some parts of China. The first half of 2020 will be much weaker than expected for the 5G industry, but we expect a strong bounce-back in the second half of the year if the coronavirus spread is brought under control.”

Exhibit 1: Global 5G Smartphone Shipments Forecast in 2020 1

Global Smartphone Shipments (Millions of Units)20192020
5G19199
Rest of Market13941165
Total14131364
 
Global Smartphone Shipments (% of Total)20192020
5G1%15%
Rest of Market99%85%
Total100%100%

Source: Strategy Analytics

The full report, Global Handset Sales for 88 Countries & 19 Technologies, is published by the Strategy Analytics Emerging Device Technologies (EDT) service, details of which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/wep83gc.

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