Earnings: CNET Reports Increased Traffic, “Interactive” Revenue For 3Q05; Shows Net Loss

Updated to include earnings call quotes and audio: CNET’s interactive revenue grew 28 percent to $78.6 million in 3Q05 compared to $61.4 million in 3Q04 but a “non-cash asset impairment” from Computer Shopper and a building in Switzerland dragged the company into the red ink for the quarter. Instead of operating income of $8 million, the company turned in an operating loss of $917,000 compared to operating income of $1.8 million in 3Q04. The net loss for the quarter: $3.37 million or 2 cents a share compared to a net gain in 3Q04 of $1.01 million or 1 cent per share.
Some highlights: — The profit margin improved considerably to 18 percent from 10 percent in the same quarter last year.

— CNET averaged 110 million monthly uniques during 3Q05, up 21 percent over 3Q04.

— Internet ad sales accounted for 79 percent of revenues with fees and licensing making up 12 percent.

From the earnings call: Asked in a roundabout way about the possibility of a sale of merge for CNET, Chairman Shelby Bonnie talked about the difference in today’s market and the not-too-distant darker days. “It’s nice for the first time in a while to see a lot of wind at your back. … Clearly, there’s been a lot of broader interest in the content space. When you live in an attrractive neighborhood, other people are going want to live there.”

— No breakout but the company is pleased by the “strong growth of our internet acquisitions in China.”

— Video came up a number of times in prepared remarks and questions. Bonnie said video was still “immaterial as a percentage of revenue but advertiser interest continues to increase.” Later, he added, “Part of what’s been the most helpful about video is it’s really forced marketers to take a hard look at the medium. … It’s really changing people’s perceptions. We do see it having a very meaningful impact interms of overall perceptions.”

— CNET also has increased podcasting but when asked about monetizing it, Bonnie said: “It is still early. … It’s not clear to me whether video is going to jump over podcasts. … It gets more interesting when you have WiFi-enabled automobiles.” But he said the company is putting more effort and resources into video.

mp3logo1.gifYou can download the audio here. (10.3 MB; 59 minutes)

Earnings release | Webcast

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