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Twitter's slowing user growth leads to $511m fourth quarter loss

Firm's first post-IPO earnings show engagement is dropping
Thu Feb 06 2014, 10:32
Twitter IPO

MICROBLOGGING WEBSITE Twitter reported its first financial results since going public on Wednesday, and while it was good news on the revenues front, the firm posted a $511m loss for the fourth quarter.

Twitter's first post-IPO financial results were a mixed bag. The firm posted revenues of $242.7m for the fourth quarter, up 116 percent year on year and surpassing analysts expectations of $217.82m. Revenue for the full year came in at $665m, an increase of 110 percent, while advertising revenue rose 76 percent year on year.

That's where the good news stopped, though. Twitter reported a fourth quarter loss of $511m and a full year loss of $665m for 2013, numbers that caused the firm's share price to fall as much as 18 percent following its earnings call on Wednesday.

While the stock market wasn't pleased with the firm's results, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo seemed happy. He said, "Twitter finished a great year with our strongest financial quarter to date. We are the only platform that is public, real-time, conversational and widely distributed and I'm excited by the number of initiatives we have underway to further build upon the Twitter experience."

Twitter's earnings call gave an insight to its user base too. The firm revealed that it averaged 241 million users during the fourth quarter, up 3.8 percent compared to the third quarter, although this showed a slowdown in its user growth rate of 10 percent compared to the beginning of 2013.

The firm also admitted that Timeline views were down seven percent in the quarter, which caused analysts to worry that users are becoming less engaged with the microblogging website.

Costollo commented on these figures during the earnings call, and said that Twitter will focus on making its services more engaging going forward. He said, "We don't think we need to change anything about the characteristics of our platform, we simply need to make Twitter a better Twitter.

"We will improve the new user experience, particularly on mobile, introduce native mobile sign up, and will make it [a] more visually engaging medium and a better tool for conversations both public and private."

Twitter said it expects its revenue for the first quarter of 2014 to come in between $230m and $240m. µ


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