Will Earnings Calls Go Mobile?
For investor relations officers, earnings season is like the recurring ritual of finals in college, a period characterized by a rush of feverish activity that reaches a crescendo with the big moment of the call (exam) itself. The frenzy has a good reason: during earnings time, management addresses investors and must account for the good, the bad, and the ugly from the past quarter’s results.
While investors today either dial in from their phones or listen to webcasts on their computers, a handful of IROs are experimenting with taking their earnings calls mobile, making these calls available over apps found on phones and other handheld devices. In recent months, Colgate-Palmolive, Edwards Lifesciences, and Triple-S Management used version 5.0 of theIRapp to do so.
Founders of theIRapp argue that “the ability to stream content demonstrates the power of the mobile device and the native app as a communications platform.” Some have observed that if investors can join earnings calls live even when they’re on the road, participation levels are certain to rise because there will be fewer barriers to attendance.
During its third-quarter earnings call, Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, emphasized that mobile engagement is now outstripping television viewing. In fact, she pointed out that eMarketer estimates that for the first time ever, in 2013 people in the U.S. spent an average of 5.25 hours per day on digital services, compared to 4.5 hours watching TV.
As IROs explore ways to use apps to disseminate information to investors more broadly and in a more timely fashion, mobile earnings calls are certainly something worth watching.