13.99 +0.05 (0.36%)
Pre-market: 9:28AM EST
|Bid||13.98 x 800|
|Ask||14.06 x 1000|
|Day's range||13.50 - 14.60|
|52-week range||4.82 - 18.36|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||1.09|
|PE ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||N/A|
(Bloomberg) -- Caroline Spiegel isn’t afraid to talk about sex.The 22 year-old entrepreneur and younger sister of Snap Inc. founder Evan Spiegel, has founded a startup called Quinn, a website for audio erotica.Spiegel hopes Quinn, which is launching officially on Thursday, will become the go-to place for what she calls “the internet’s best-kept secret.” Quinn packages erotic stories and “guided masturbations” behind an interface as polished and minimalistic as any other startup geared toward Millennials, a stark difference from the pop-ups and animated ads often associated with sites like PornHub. In fact, there are no pictures or videos at all.“Audio porn really gets at the sort of non-obvious intangible parts of sex that visual porn just doesn’t get at it in the same way,” Spiegel said.Quinn is the latest addition to a growing adult podcast market. In the last five years, venture capital funds have plowed $1.6 billion into audio-tech companies, according to PitchBook, a category that includes hardware and software for the music and podcast industry. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the podcasting industry is expected to generate $679 million in revenue this year.And while the numbers don’t break out adult content from general podcasts, it’s clear that the money-generating power and timeless popularity of romance novels has combined with the success of audio startups like Gimlet Media and Anchor to help spur interest in audio erotica.One of the early leaders is Dipsea, an app-based platform for short-form erotic audio stories that has raised $5.5 million from Bedrock and Thrive Capital. A subscription service, Dipsea costs $5.99 a month and now ranks in the top 100 grossing entertainment apps, according to researcher App Annie. Other competitors include Bawdy Storytelling, a podcast featuring long form stories and Literotica, a site mostly known for its written stories, but which also hosts audio content.During her junior year at Stanford University, Spiegel took time off to deal with an eating disorder. As she recovered and rediscovered her sexuality, she said she had a realization that fantasy and arousal “is easier for some people,” men specifically. So she set out to create a product for women and after doing some research settled on audio erotica.The genre isn’t necessarily new. But while there is clearly demand, it has struggled to find the right distribution method. Free audio erotica of varying quality is available on Reddit, and Tumblr once had a robust library before the social media site banned pornographic content late last year.Spiegel saw an opening. Quinn aims to host content, written and uploaded by voice-actors or writers, on a curated, social media-style platform. The site offers users three ways of participating: telling their stories, listening to others’ stories or reading erotic tales. Spiegel said she wants Quinn to not be too tightly curated or have “one voice,” so that everyone can find content that appeals to them. “We want to be a bazillion voices.”To moderate the submissions, Quinn will have “really accurate tagging” so that listeners know what to expect from a story. The site does have a few strict rules, including that stories don’t involve minors or non-consensual acts, and it removes posts that don’t comply. The startup is still considering how it will make money, “because people are not prepared to pay for porn,” Spiegel said. Creators that post content to Quinn can make money by receiving tips from users.In designing the site, Spiegel was conscious of how women are marketed to. “I feel like I'm always kind of being yelled at by products to Be Better! Prettier! Skinnier! More Athletic!” she said. One of the first tenets of marketing is to make a product aspirational, Spiegel said. “But Quinn is kind of like, no thanks to that,” she said. “We’re just trying to make you feel better about who you are already.”Comedian and Quinn-user Remy Kassimir says video porn never appealed to her, since instead of erotic emotions, she’d feel a “nervous overdrive,” comparing herself to the cookie-cutter body types of many women in the videos. Audio erotica presents an alternative for people, especially women, to more comfortably explore their sexuality, she said.Spiegel and her team also discovered, as the site went through beta testing, that almost half of the users were men. This surprise was counter to their initial theory that women were more drawn to audio erotica and men were more visual.On a Monday morning a few weeks before Quinn’s official launch, Spiegel gathered the five-member team for a meeting at the company’s Brooklyn, New York, office. They congregated with laptops around a large wooden dining room table, with a bowl of Quinn-branded condoms as a centerpiece. The sunny loft space, with an industrial style kitchen and open floor plan, looks like any other startup office. But details, like a neon sign reading “XXX DVD Video” hanging on the exposed brick wall, and a faded Playboy from 1972 on the counter, wink at Quinn’s mission.Spiegel declined to name investors in Quinn or say how much the startup has raised though she told Tech Crunch earlier this year that the site had brought in less than $1 million in outside capital.Pitching a sex-tech product presents unique challenges, especially for female founders. “Obviously men are uncomfortable” during a graphic pitch with precise language, Spiegel said. “But they do take my meetings.”Spiegel said audio erotica is popular because it evokes a sense of mystery and sensuality that video doesn’t.“Everyone’s like, ‘Oh VR porn is the future and the more graphic, the more in-your-face kind of porn the better,’” Spiegel said. “Quinn is kind of a contrarian take. Human desire is more complicated and people want content they can really relate to, truly connect with.”To contact the author of this story: Kiley Roache in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Molly Schuetz at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Today we highlighted 4 'cheap' stocks that are currently trading for under $10 per share that also sport a Zacks Rank 2 (Buy) or better that investors might want to consider buying right now...
Welcome to the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research where Associate Stock Strategist Ben Rains breaks down what's next for Facebook and Apple stock...
U.S. stocks jumped Friday after the October jobs report came in well above consensus expectations. Treasury yields climbed and gold prices fell, as investors piled into risk assets.
(Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg News is hosting the Sooner Than You Think conference in New York, exploring what’s next in technology, Wednesday at The Weylin in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Speakers are discussing topics such as how companies can restore trust in the tech sector; how new frontiers like AI create new obligations for business and governments; the best ways to protect your data in the age of cybersecurity attacks; the antitrust probes of Big Tech and more.Watch LIVE. All times are local New York.Via Sees Big Money in Buses (5:45 p.m.)Daniel Ramot, chief executive officer of ride-sharing company Via Transportation, Inc., sees big money in buses.New York-based Via is often characterized as a smaller competitor to Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. But Ramot sees those companies as disrupting the cab and limo market, while Via is focused on public transportation. In fact, 95% of Via rides are shared, he said. Via also sells software to public transportation systems to improve efficiency, with nearly 100 partners worldwide.Ramot puts the public mobility market -- which includes city buses, school buses, university shuttles and similar types of transportation -- at a half-trillion-dollar industry, which he sees as a big opportunity, larger than the taxi and ride-hailing space.And environmental concerns will boost demand for these options.“There’s always going to be private cars, people riding around by themselves,” he said. “But my hope is that increasingly we will look at people riding around by themselves in a car a little bit the way we might think about someone walking into a kindergarten and smoking.”Compass Says It’s Not Like WeWork (5:23 p.m.)The chief executive officer of SoftBank-backed real estate brokerage Compass said his company had already moved away from a strategy of rapid growth before WeWork’s scuttled initial public offering.Compass has raised $1.5 billion in venture capital, and like WeWork, it tapped SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund. Skeptics in the real estate industry say the brokerage lacks a disruptive technology or business model, and has relied on deep coffers of venture funding to buy growth.But Compass had stopped expanding into new geographic areas by the beginning of this year, CEO Robert Reffkin said. The company is already profitable in many markets and is under no pressure to go public, he added.Reffkin enumerated other advantages. He said the company’s strategy of treating real estate agents as its primary customers would help recruiting efforts in the event of a recession. And unlike video-streaming sites or car-hailing services, Compass hasn’t attracted imitators.“Seven years in, there hasn’t been one copycat,” he said.California Privacy Law Does More Harm Than Good, Industry Executives Say (4:00 p.m.)California’s data privacy law does more harm than good for consumer privacy, said Michael Beckerman, president and chief executive officer of the Internet Association, and Mignon Clyburn, former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.The first data privacy law in the country takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, but the representative from the industry group that represents big technology and the former federal official argued the California Consumer Privacy Act needs to be replaced with a federal law. They worry that other states will follow California’s lead and pass their own regulations, creating a possible patchwork of varying standards across the country.Companies will struggle to comply with multiple laws, Beckerman said.“They got so much wrong, and what they did do will make people less private,” he said. “It makes no sense that one state can set the rules, leaving the rest of the country to pivot.”Clyburn agreed, but said a federal law to pre-empt state regulations is unlikely until after the 2020 presidential election.Former DHS Adviser Says Trump Ukraine Server Allegation ‘Completely Debunked’ (3:30 p.m.)Tom Bossert, a former Homeland Security adviser to President Donald Trump, called the “conspiracy theory” that Trump has pursued, in which there is a Democratic National Committee server in Ukraine, has been “completely debunked.”Bossert said he expects more countries to get involved in attempting to influence the next U.S presidential election. “Buckle up, because it’s about to get started in a bigger and larger scale, in my view,” said Bossert, who now works as the chief strategy officer at Trinity Cyber. “The trend that we will see when we look back on this 2020 election is the entrance of China, Iran, North Korea, maybe 10 or 12 nation-state actors that are highly sophisticated.”Brittany Kaiser, co-founder of the Digital Asset Trade Association, said she’s not sure “that we’ve really learned enough about all of the problems from 2016. Facebook’s policy of allowing political campaigns to lie in campaign ads could allow them to conduct voter suppression, she said. “We don’t actually have oversight over what these campaigns are saying.”Yasmin Green, director of research and development at Jigsaw, warned that those looking to influence elections have become more skilled. “Defenses are better and the threat is more sophisticated,” Green said. “So looking to 2020 the question mark for me is, are we going to say domestic disinformation doesn’t really feel like on par with state sponsored, cross border election meddling.”Simon Ventures Head Says WeWork Shows ‘Inconsistent’ Valuations (3:30pm)WeWork, the work-sharing real-estate startup, created a “ highly dsyfunctional” capital structure as it moved toward an initial public offering, said Natalie Hwang, managing director and head of Simon Ventures, the venture capital arm of Simon Property Group, Inc., the largest shopping mall and retail center owner in the U.S. Simon Ventures passed on the opportunity to invest in WeWork a few years ago. “In the case of WeWork, the public markets ultimately disagreed with private company valuations and I would expect for companies to be valued at increasingly inconsistent fashion.”WeWork was valued at as much as $47 billion before its IPO collapsed and the company’s value fell to an estimated $8 billion in a bailout plan. Jason Illian, managing Director of Koch Disruptive Technologies, the venture and growth arm of Koch Industries, Inc. said WeWork won’t be the last example of a private company’s valuation being overhyped.Foursquare Chief Says GDPR Needs to Better Protect Location Data (2:30 p.m.)Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation doesn’t go far enough to protect consumers from abuse of their location data, Foursquare Labs Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Glueck said.Glueck said regulators should enact laws to protect consumers’ location data, and make sure they consent to what they share. Glueck said his company supports the European privacy law, but it needs to go further, and the U.S. needs a national privacy law as well.“There is no rule today about how to use location data or what is informed consent,” he said. “Consumers should not be judged to have consented to anything because of a 200-page ‘Terms and Conditions.’”Glueck, in effect, is calling for regulation on his own company. Foursquare, which began as a social-media app letting a user broadcast their location to friends, now builds location-data systems for other companies including Uber Technologies Inc. and Airbnb Inc.Companies should be legally responsible to use consumer’s real-time location data in the user’s best interest, similar to an accountant’s fiduciary duty. Regulations should ensure “competition can continue but with a high ethical bar,” he said.Google Rival DuckDuckGo Makes ‘Ton of Money’ From Private Search Engine (1 p.m.)DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused search engine provider, makes “a ton of money” without resorting to the personalized, targeted advertising that Google uses, according to Megan Gray, the company’s top lawyer and policy chief.There are many reasons for transferring personal information between companies, but with online search it doesn’t need to be that way, Gray said during a discussion about privacy-focused product design. After you search for a little black dress and then lipstick, companies don’t need to follow you around the web with similar ads, she added.“That’s only what you see. There’s a lot more behind the curtain in terms of how you are being categorized by the searches you have done,” Gray said.Gray and other speakers called for an enforceable “Do Not Track” law in the U.S. that would help people easily prevent technology and digital-advertising companies from collecting personal data and following users around the web.Smartphone settings could have a simple “don’t track me” setting, Gray explained. There are technical ways to do some of this already, but an enforcement mechanism is needed, she said.The idea that a Do Not Track law would destroy the online ad industry is “a bit of a bluff,” said Elizabeth Zalman, chief executive officer of strongDM, which makes software for securely managing databases and computer servers.Andrew Farah, CEO of startup Density, said everyone would have to activate such a Do Not Track setting for the digital ad business to be really damaged.The panel ended with a question about Silicon Valley and whether there are the right incentives in place for entrepreneurs to think about privacy and do the right thing when they’re starting companies.“Do you want me to get to raise my next round of funding?” Zalman said, prompting laughter from the crowd. Leaders of tech startups should treat data records as real humans and lock down that information, she added. “I don’t know if it’s necessarily baked into the venture capital route.”WeWork’s Failed IPO Was a Case of Corporate Greed, Former Snap Exec Khan Says (12:45p.m.)WeWork’s aborted initial public offering is a case of “corporate greed,” said Imran Khan, co-founder and chief executive officer of e-commerce company Verishop. Khan was previously involved in high-profile public offerings, as chief strategy officer at Snap Inc. and as a managing director at Credit Suisse Group AG, where he helped internet companies, including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, list on the stock market.Khan said that whenever an investor gives someone money, they are giving trust, and the recipient has a responsibility to live by that trust.“At WeWork we saw the gross negligence of this trust,” Khan said. It was a degree of irresponsibility he hadn’t seen since 1999 or 2000, he added.We Co. was valued at $47 billion at its peak earlier this year, but that dropped to only about $8 billion as part of the aborted IPO and bail-out plan.Generally, Khan said that while the private market in many cases results in inflated valuations, he can see why investors like it. “You don’t have to worry about day to day volatility,” he said.“If you want to build a business for the long term, to be honest with you it’s difficult to do that in the public market these days,” Khan said. “I think it’s getting more and more challenging.”Earlier this year, Khan launched Verishop, which sells lifestyle products which sells a curated offering ranging from clothing to sustainable household items and non-toxic toys.Ohio AG Wonders if Current Antitrust Law is Sufficient For Big Tech (12:30 p.m.)Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost questioned whether existing antitrust law is sufficient to police Big Tech. “What is the right way to regulate or limit, or separate the power that is being gathered?” Yost said. “I’m not entirely sure that the antitrust jurisprudence we have is adequate.”Yost described three historic phases of power accumulation: First governments, which were split up into separate branches; then, old economic monopolies, which the federal government broke up; and now, large technology platforms. “Today there’s this third wave of power,” he said. “Power is always antithetical to individual freedom.”Yost said he is still trying to frame questions about how to restrain that power. He didn’t offer pointed solutions.Two groups of state attorneys general are investigating Facebook Inc. and Google for abuses of power. Those cases are in their early stages. The attorneys general haven’t publicly articulated a clear legal case against these tech giants and Yost did not offer one Wednesday.Instead, he asked whether the existing laws were sufficient to deal with the tech giants’ newfound power. “The piece that is proceeding under traditional antitrust principles is probably distinguished by fact patterns and business models of each case. The overall debate question that I’m posing is, is this really about the aggregation of power?” he said. “There’s been tremendous change driven by these big tech platforms -- there’s almost nothing that hasn’t been touched in our lives and impacted, in many, many ways for the better.”Yost indicated that he was taking a measured approach. “I’m not with the pitchfork and torch crowd, OK?. But we do need to think about the potential outcomes here, and are there things that we want guardrails from?”Kerry Washington Talks About Changing the Narrative in Hollywood (12:00 p.m.)Kerry Washington is best known as Olivia Pope, the star of the ABC drama “Scandal.” But now she is starring in a new film called “American Son” on Netflix, and is hoping its message starts a conversation. In the film, which debuts Friday, she looks for her missing son at a police precinct. It’s a timely show in light of several police killings of black Americans. “Whether you’re a man or woman, black or white, it makes you think,” she said. “People who wouldn’t normally watch this are watching this and learning something.”Washington shared the stage with Pilar Savone, who produced “Django Unchained” and heads development for Washington’s production company, Simpson Street. Savone said the film was originally a play. Now that it’s on Netflix, it can reach a much larger audience.“It’s such an important story for people to see and not everyone has access to Broadway,” Savone said.Both women said Hollywood is starting to think more about hiring women and minorities -- in front of the camera and behind it. When Simpson Street shoots a pilot, “we want to make sure our candidate pool is diverse,” Washington said.Washington has also invested in The Wing, a woman-focused co-working space. She described the startup as “a sisterhood” where women are “having a lot of conversations on a lot of levels.” She also gave out her phone number, saying it would help her fans connect with her on Community.com, a communications startup. Community, she said, “allows me to engage more with fans on one-to-one basis” and “have a real conversation.”Washington said she was going to knock on doors this weekend in Michigan and Virginia to encourage people to register to vote. Asked who she’s backing in the presidential race, she demurred. “My candidate is the American people,” she said.Shopify CEO Lutke Says He’s Helping Others Compete With Amazon (11:19 a.m.)Shopify Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tobi Lutke said the Canadian e-commerce company isn’t competing with Amazon.com Inc., but helping other people do so. “Amazon wants to be an empire,” he said. “At Shopify, we are arming the rebels.” Lutke said he didn’t think the economy would be healthy if there were five mega-corporations employing everyone, and that the world needs millions of businesses to employ millions of people.Shopify recently announced it had reached 1 million merchants using its platform around the world.The Ottawa-based company is spending $1 billion dollars to set up a network of fulfillment centers in the U.S. to help merchants using its platforms deliver products. The company processes millions of individual sales by hundreds of thousands of merchants each year, and could potentially pool shipments from different online stores together. “If you put a lot of lights together you end up with a sun,” said Lutke.“What will that do for margins? Well, it’s going to be expensive,” Lutke said of the 10-figure investment. He added that Shopify is “a growth investment.”Shopify is one of Canada’s best performing stocks, having gained about 130% this year as investors reward the company’s fast growing sales. But the company reported an unexpected quarterly loss earlier this week due to higher spending as it expands its customer network and building out the fulfillment centers.Two Sigma’s David Siegel Talks About the New Rules For Tech (10:40 a.m.)David Siegel, co-founder of the Two Sigma Investments hedge fund, said if giant tech companies began self-regulation as concerns over privacy mount it might prevent the government from enacting more severe controls.“The industry participants themselves understand what’s possible and what isn’t possible better than maybe a government agency would,” Siegel said. “If the industry could get together and work collaboratively to set rules of the road, then maybe we will all be happier.”Siegel, who has been outspoken about the benefits and dangers associated with artificial intelligence, said industries like finance and medicine had very little oversight in their early days, and that didn’t lead to good outcomes. He finds it hard to understand why tech leaders would think that their industry would work perfectly without regulations.“I think having regulation in finance is a good thing,” Siegel said. “So I’ve never seen regulation as being a particularly big deal.”Siegel pointed out the trade-offs that come with regulations. Some people want privacy, but if the control of personal data is absolute, that might lead to unintended consequences, like making it harder for authorities to solve criminal activity.“So we might be willing to have a great level of abuse in our society, maybe it would lead to more violence, maybe it will lead to more financial fraud but maybe you’re all ok with that trade-off because you value privacy so much,” he said. “Or maybe you’re not.”New York-based Two Sigma, a quantitative hedge fund firm that deploys machine learning in its strategies, had $60 billion in assets in August.One of Tech’s Biggest Critics Takes on The Role of Technology in Society (9:45 a.m.)Tristan Harris is a former Google employee who has turned into one of the highest-profile critics of Big Tech. His job at Alphabet Inc.’s Google was to make sure ethics were taken into account when new products were designed, but he left years ago to try and push that mission from the outside. Harris, who is the co-founder and executive director at the Center for Humane Technology, says human minds are no match for the sophisticated attention-grabbing algorithms built by Facebook Inc., YouTube and Twitter Inc. and that these companies’ entire business models need to change. “We’re all trapped inside this system,” Harris said.As long as the goal of these companies is to maximize our time spent on their platforms so they can sell more ads, misinformation, outrage and conspiracy theories will continue to proliferate, simply because they’re more engaging than the truth in many cases, he said.The recent trend of employees at these companies banding together to try and force changes from within is the fastest way to get these companies to alter their practices, he said. Recent examples of this from Google and Facebook give him hope.(Updates with comments from Compass CEO)\--With assistance from Gerrit De Vynck, Vincent Bielski, Eric Newcomer, Gerry Smith, Candy Cheng, Alistair Barr and Kartikay Mehrotra.To contact the reporters on this story: Patrick Clark in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Kiley Roache in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Molly Schuetz, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Burlington Stores, Caterpillar, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day
2.1 billion people around the world use one of Facebook's family of services daily, while 2.7 billion utilize one of these at least once a month, whether it be Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, or Facebook.
Zynga's (ZNGA) third-quarter 2019 results are likely to benefit from growth in its mobile live services supported by new and existing franchise games.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As smartphone cameras continue to improve, we are understandably taking more and more photos with them. Priceonomics, a San Francisco-based firm that analyzes data to create content, attempted to figure just how many more. Using data from Avast, a company that makes antivirus and maintenance software, it found that the average number of photos stored on a smartphone anywhere in the world is 952. Five years ago, a study based on data from another app developer, Magisto, put the average number at 630. Though the large datasets used in both cases are not directly comparable, it’s likely that they accurately capture how much more we’re photographing with our phones. They also reveal the same trends — for example, more photos taken in certain Asian countries than elsewhere, and more pictures snapped by women than men. Is this increase in snapping and storing good for us, though? That depends on how we use that camera.In 2013, Linda Henkel, a psychologist from Fairfield University in Connecticut, described a “photo-taking-impairment effect.” People told to walk around a museum photographing some objects and merely looking at others turned out to have clearer memories of the exhibits they hadn’t snapped. Other studies with different experimental setups have confirmed the existence of this effect. An early theory explaining the impairment effect held that people forget things they photograph because they, consciously or unconsciously, want to get rid of unnecessary information they’d otherwise keep in their heads. “Cognitive offloading,” researchers named it. Two years ago, Julia Soares and Benjamin Storm from the University of California at Santa Cruz, found that the impairment effect is present even when people use an ephemeral messaging app such as Snapchat to take a photo, or when they’re told to delete the image manually. This suggested that memories aren’t simply offloaded, they’re merely dimmed when we put a camera between ourselves and an experience.It gets even more complicated. The work of Alixandra Barasch from New York University, Kristin Diehl at the University of Southern California and Jackie Silverman at the University of Pennsylvania has shown that taking pictures tends to aid recall when people consciously look for specific details or aspects to photograph. They called this “volitional photo taking.” This doesn’t actually contradict Henkel’s work: She, too, found that people in her museum experiment tended to remember better when they zoomed in on specific details.Thus, the question of whether the phone is a memory aid or a trash can for unwanted memories hinges on our level of engagement. We can behave somewhat like professional photographers, looking for the best angle, an interesting detail, an object among many that we want to bring back from an exhibition. Or we can just click that button indiscriminately. Soares of California-Santa Cruz, who found that Snapchat photos are forgotten as fast as the ones that remain stored, referred to the latter practice as “attentional disengagement.” Stepping away from a scene to take a picture, and thus losing touch with it, creates a false familiarity with the subject and makes us less likely to make an effort to remember it.In another series of experiments, Barasch and Diehl, along with Gal Zauberman from Yale University, discovered that taking pictures tends to make any activity — from a bus tour to an ordinary lunch — more fun when it increases engagement with the experience rather than interferes with it or adds a new element to what’s already highly engaging. And, in a separate paper, they showed that the intention to share photos can detract from the enjoyment because it “increases self-presentational concern during the experience.”Notably, all this science is consistent with the finding by a group of U.K. researchers that selfie-taking is positively correlated with smartphone dependency and anxiety. In addition, people who are less phone-dependent tend to take more photographs of nature. Those people also tend to be older. And, interestingly, somewhat older users, according to the Avast data, tend to store more photos on their phones than the youngest people. The average number of pictures on the phone of a person aged 18 through 24 is 836; a person between 25 and 34 keeps 1,067 of them.Priceonomics offers a plausible explanation: The youngest people are more likely to use ephemeral messaging apps that don’t save photos by default. That means they take more photos with the purpose of sharing them. It also likely means more selfies, which are used as a means of visual conversation, and other low-engagement pictures. Snap, send, forget.The higher accumulation of photos cluttering the memory of the phones of relatively older age groups isn’t necessarily a problem. Often, these pictures are taken in contemplation, as a way to study something closer, take in and remember more details. Then, the snapping habit isn’t just benign — it's a private form of art, not necessarily shared with anyone. And even if we never return to our photo galleries, the intimacy of the contact we once established with our subjects can stay with us.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- For years, investors have been putting up with profitless companies. Paying up for them, too. Why worry about a nosebleed valuation when the future looks so fabulous?Now, that line of thought is being questioned. Patience that used to be boundless is starting to wear thin.“We’re looking at the future and saying ‘We want to buy into the new world,’” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Management in Pittsburgh. “But the new world isn’t profitable right now.”It started with the implosion of WeWork, then spread to software shares as investors got sick of throwing cash at expensive stocks. More than a third of the way through earnings season, a theme is going viral, its logic stark. Post profits and get rewarded. Flub and get punished. Your community-adjusted eyeball counts impress nobody.“WeWork brought people to their senses,” Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA, said by phone. “That ‘Hey, we need to see companies making money and having earnings in order to really justify some of the numbers that are out there.”’Among companies, metrics that used to steal the spotlight as indicators of future growth are being ignored, particularly in tech. In its place is a focus on the top and bottom lines.Take Twitter Inc., for example. Normally, investors looked for growth signals in the social media company’s earnings reports, primarily through new user additions. In the third quarter, Twitter added 6 million active for a total of 145 million, a 17% increase from a year earlier. That was a bright spot, and in past periods may have been rewarded.But the social media site also delivered earnings and sales that fell short of analyst expectations, plus a weak revenue forecast for the period ending in December. Shares fell as much as 20%, the worst day since July 2018, when Twitter reported a drop in active users and predicted further declines.Snap Inc. is another casualty. The company, which lets people send video and picture messages that disappear, has yet to turn a profit since its 2017 IPO, but its stock has more than doubled this year, mostly on optimism that subscriber growth will eventually filter through to the bottom line.While its Snapchat application beat estimates for daily active users, the stock fell almost 6% after third-quarter results showed its path to profitability is still a work in progress. Investors blanched at Snap’s revenue outlook for the fourth quarter, which at the midpoint came in below analysts’ expectations.The opposite was true for Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. Analysts who had expected a decline in profits were proved wrong when the company reported adjusted earnings-per-share of $1.86, the third largest in its public history. Shares soared as much as 20%, its best day in six years at the highs.A similar dynamic buttressed ServiceNow Inc. Shares of the software maker fell Wednesday partly because of a slight miss on subscription billings forecast. But when the company released its full results after the bell, including earnings that beat the highest analyst estimate, the stock jumped more than 7%.The intense focus on bottom-line metrics may be tied to another trend, extreme valuations for putative growth companies that aren’t actually growing that much.Consider value companies in the Russell 1000, those chosen for their low price-earnings or price-to-sales characteristics. As a group, they’ve expanded income faster than their growth brethren over the past year, notes Michael Wilson, Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. equity strategist. And yet, based on forward earnings, the valuation gulf between the two groups is roughly the widest since the dot-com bubble. If bulls aren’t getting the growth they’re paying for, it follows that they’d get stricter with the shares.“Investors are still piled into growth names, hoping the earnings growth picture improves,” Wilson wrote in a note this month. “However, both the last twelve-month and next twelve-month numbers suggest that growth’s earnings superiority is on hold for now.”The market has been unforgiving of failure in general. In the 24 hours after reporting, firms that have missed earnings expectations have seen their shares fall 2.4%, according to data compiled by Wells Fargo. Those that beat have risen an average 1.6%.None of this is good news for this year’s marquee IPOs, including ride-sharing companies Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc., or even alternative meat company Beyond Meat Inc. The newly public companies have yet to generate positive earnings, and each of them still have to report for the last quarter.Executives at Lyft, already staring at stock price that’s fallen 40% this year, may be looking to get ahead of any disappointment. Earlier this week, the company’s founders announced it would turn a profit by the end of 2021, focusing on earnings growth rather than scale at all costs. Investors’ ears perked up, sending shares to one of their best days on record.“People want growth, but they want growth to have profits attached,” Malcolm Polley, who oversees more than $1 billion as chief investment officer of Stewart Capital Advisors LLC in Indiana, Pennsylvania, said by phone. “The market is realizing, ‘Look. We need to get payback on our investments eventually.’”\--With assistance from Luke Kawa, Vildana Hajric and Jeran Wittenstein.To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah Ponczek in New York at email@example.com;Lu Wang in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeremy Herron at email@example.com, Chris NagiFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. plunged the most in more than a year after reporting quarterly results that fell far short of Wall Street’s estimates, and saying privacy issues involving its advertising business will continue to weigh on performance.Third-quarter sales increased 8.6% to $823.7 million, well short of the $876 million analysts estimated. Sales in the period ending in December will be $940 million to $1.01 billion, the San Francisco-based company said Thursday in a statement. Analysts projected $1.06 billion.In a letter to shareholders, the social-media company blamed “greater-than-expected advertising seasonality” in July and August for the third-quarter results, and also referenced “revenue product issues” that reduced sales by 3 or more percentage points.Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal blamed the miss in part on what he referred to as “bugs” in the way Twitter targeted ads and shared personal user information. In one instance, Twitter had previously been collecting device information from people and using it to target them with advertising without their permission. Also, Twitter shared data about users’ interactions with mobile apps with some advertisers without permission. Twitter did this as a way to help these advertisers measure weather their ads were working. Since it stopped the practice in early August, it made Twitter’s ad measurement weaker, meaning some advertisers pulled spending, Segal said. Specifically, these changes impacted Twitter’s “Mobile App Promotion” ads, also known as app-install ads, which let developers promote their app to Twitter users. The impact on Twitter’s business will likely bleed into results in 2020, Segal added.User growth, on the other hand, provided a positive note for Twitter, which has historically struggled to increase its audience despite widespread social and cultural awareness. The company added 6 million new daily active users to 145 million in the third quarter, a 17% increase from a year earlier and a 4% gain from the previous quarter.“Despite its challenges, this quarter validates our strategy of investing to drive long-term growth,” Segal said in a statement. “More work remains to deliver improved revenue products. We’ll continue to prioritize our ad products along with health and our investments to drive ongoing growth” in monetizeable daily active users.The problems with mobile app promotion in the third quarter don’t necessarily signal a broader weakness in the ad market, since user engagement remains strong, according to Jitendra Waral, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst. “U.S. presidential-election traffic and the 2020 Olympics should reboot revenue growth as Twitter works through measurement bugs in 4Q.”Twitter reported profit, excluding some items, of 17 cents a share, compared with analysts’ estimates of 20 cents. The company increased its costs and expenses by 17% as it hired new workers.Twitter’s user growth has fueled a share increase of 35% this year to $38.83 through Wednesday’s close in New York. But the shares plunged as much as 20% Thursday morning, the most intraday since July 2018, dragging down Snap Inc. as well. The Snapchat parent reported a strong third quarter earlier this week but gave a tepid forecast for the current period. Facebook Inc., the biggest of the social media companies, reorts earnings next week.Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey has been making a concerted effort to clean up the service and make it easier for users to have conversations with one another. One of Twitter’s top product initiatives is to help people find more content that they might find interesting, even if they don’t know which specific users they should follow. The company started testing the ability for users to follow specific topics last quarter, like sports or gaming. It will continue that test, with plans to add more categories such as celebrities and television shows moving forward.The effort is aimed at one of Twitter’s biggest issues, which is helping new and existing users find new content outside of their existing network.Dorsey was asked about Twitter’s political-ad policy, given the current interest in the topic after Facebook Inc. said it wouldn’t fact-check ads from politicians. Political advertising is very small on Twitter -- Segal said the company made just $3 million in revenue from ads around the 2018 midterm elections -- but there has been a lot of discussion about Facebook’s highly controversial policy. Dorsey said that elections and the kinds of conversations surrounding them are the “first priority” within Twitter’s efforts to improve Twitter’s health.To contact the reporter on this story: Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Twitter posted third-quarter results that missed expectations on nearly every major measure as advertising growth decelerated sharply over last year.
A Senate bill introduced this week could force Facebook (FB) to support the growth of rivals such as Snapchat. Let's take a closer look.
The shares rose in premarket trade after Snap disclosed in a regulatory filing that the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission ended their investigation. Snap said the DOJ and SEC had provided the company with written confirmations in September that they are no longer pursuing their investigations. The news about the subpoena was first disclosed last year, and followed a shareholder lawsuit in which investors alleged that Snap misled the public about how competition from Facebook Inc's Instagram service had affected the company's growth.
Snap's (SNAP) third-quarter 2019 results reflect growth in DAU and user engagement levels, owing to strong adoption of AR Lenses and Premium content.
Elastic, iRobot, Chipotle, Texas Instruments and Snap highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day
(Bloomberg) -- Snap Inc. shares struggled for direction on Wednesday, following third-quarter results that were seen as supporting the view that the social-media company was seeing positive momentum, but which weren’t so strong as to warrant additional optimism after a strong year-to-date advance.Analysts were largely positive on the results, with both JPMorgan and Needham upgrading their views on the shares, noting Snap’s continued success in growing both its revenue and its user base. However, after two blowout quarters from earlier this year, “the shock factor is wearing off,” according to MoffettNathanson.Among the factors complicating the bull view was that Snap’s revenue outlook was seen as light, though analysts noted its history of being conservative with forecasts. Many firms also expressed valuation concerns after a massive rally, leading to some trimmed price targets.Shares fluctuated between positive and negative territory in morning trading, and last traded down 1.5% on the day. At current levels, the Snapchat parent is up nearly 180% from a December low, but down more than 20% from a July peak. Should the stock close at current levels, it would represent the quietest reaction to a quarterly report in Snap’s history, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, based on the size of the one-day share reaction.Here’s what analysts are saying about the results:JPMorgan, Doug AnmuthUpgrades to overweight from neutral; price target raised to $20 from $17.“Snap’s platform and business have both improved dramatically over the past several quarters,” based on revenue growth and user trends, and this quarter “showed more encouraging trends.”The stock is “at an inflection point” with Ebitda, and shares look “increasingly compelling” after recent weakness.Needham, Laura MartinA growing number of “always on” advertisers “creates a more stable revenue trajectory” and should improve Snap’s pricing power. Sees improved user engagement, along with better free-cash-flow and balance-sheet strength.Upgrades to hold from underperform.MoffettNathanson, Michael NathansonThe results were “impressive” but “the shock factor is wearing off.” The focus is turning from user growth to how Snap can monetize the user base. “We question whether a story focused primarily on improving monetization...is enough to warrant the premium valuations seen just a few months ago.”Neutral rating, price target raised to $14.50 from $14.Morgan Stanley, Brian NowakThe results “underscore the company’s better execution” this year.Looking into 2020, Snap needs to show “more consistent” growth in daily active users and engagement, as well as improved ad tools. Recent successes reflect “a period of low-hanging fruit” in terms of its improvements, and “we look for more ad unit/targeting innovation to continue to move SNAP into the ‘must buy and highly measurable’ category.”Equal-weight rating, $17 price target.Nomura Instinet, Mark KelleyIn terms of adjusted Ebitda, the outlook “calls for break-even to a positive $20mn to exit the year, accomplishing the stretch goal to achieve break-even in 2019.”Raises Ebitda expectations for 2019 and 2020, and lifts price target to $16 from $15. Neutral rating.UBS, Eric SheridanThe results showed “solid operating progress,” but continued forward execution is needed.Neutral rating, $16 price target.Jefferies, Brent ThillThe results show that Snap is “not a one-hit wonder,” and the trends in daily active users “shows the growth is sustainable.”While the revenue outlook was slightly below expectations, “we assume conservatism given SNAP has beaten the high end of guidance” in the past.“Fundamentally positive” on the stock, “but would wait for a pullback to get constructive.”Hold rating, PT lowered to $17 from $18.Susquehanna Financial Group, Shyam PatilThe company “continues to progress on its turnaround,” as seen by the “strong” results and the “generally solid” outlook, which looks “fine” as Snap is typically conservative.Affirms neutral rating and trims price target to $16 from $18 “as the tempered outlook warrants a slightly reduced multiple.”Loop Capital Markets, Alan GouldThe guidance suggests “slightly less robust growth in the current quarter,” although Snap’s outlooks have been conservative in the past.Snap “should continue to benefit from the unduplicated reach it provides marketers in the core younger demos and advertisers’ desire to help build competition for the dominant internet platforms.”The company “is growing nicely” and it should see positive free cash flow next year, but valuation is a concern at current levels.Hold rating, $15 price target.What Bloomberg Intelligence Says:The outlook “raises concerns about the longevity of Snap’s story,” but sales have the “room to outgrow” the weak guidance. Improved ad pricing and higher engagement can help lift Snap’s average revenue per user, but it “needs to continue to deliver user growth to instill confidence in longer-term expectations.”\- Analyst Jitendra Waral\- Click here for the research(Updates to market open in fourth graph, adds commentary from Needham and MoffettNathanson)To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Vlastelica in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Catherine Larkin at email@example.com, Steven Fromm, Monica Houston-WaeschFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.