Twittersphere Poses Questions for Twitter’s Earnings Call
Twitter broke new IR ground on February 5 when it threw open the Q&A portion of its earnings call to questions from investors and other interested parties. At the meeting where the social-media trendsetter announced its fiscal 2013 financial results, the company entertained questions submitted to @TwitterIR using the hashtag #TWTRearnings.
The move to accept investor questions has been described as democratizing the investor experience given that historically only financial analysts and the media have been able to pose questions at these events. The IR team was responsible for deciding which questions would actually be addressed by CEO Dick Costolo and CFO Mike Gupta during the call.
Jim Prosser, a Twitter spokesman, has said: “As a company, we have a history of wanting to demonstrate transparency and openness and this is one way we can do that.”
Although social-media channels would seem to be a natural fit for earnings calls, most public companies have yet to accept questions and comments over Facebook or Twitter. Typically, a company might tweet a message about results after the numbers have been disclosed in an investor call.
On February 5 before the start of its earnings call, Twitter reminded investors of the event at @TwitterIR with a short announcement to its 7,600-plus followers. The company also publishes its Twitter postings on the landing page of its IR site at investor.twitter.com.
Facing Hard Questions
Accepting questions from a wider audience than usual was a particularly gutsy move given that Twitter lost $1.41 in earnings per share in 2013.
More worrisome to financial analysts, though, was the slowing user growth for Twitter. The company reported 241 million monthly active users for the most recent quarter – only a nine million increase over the previous quarter and an unwelcome development for a company that had been experiencing astronomic increases since its founding. Costolo and Gupta devoted a sizeable portion of the earnings call to elaborating on plans to reverse stagnating user growth. Even so, Twitter’s shares fell nearly 11% after the numbers were disclosed.
Twitter’s earnings call was webcast live. Two days later, Twitter posted a recording of the event at https://investor.twitterinc.com/eventdetail.cfm?EventID=139323.