Smart-TV maker Vizio, which had its IPO nearly a year ago, reported fourth-quarter results below Wall Street expectations, with revenue slipping 14% from the same period in 2020.
The company also swung to a net loss of $10.1 million, from net income of $40.8 million, with EBITDA falling to $17.3 million from $54.4 million.
Shares in the company, which fell 4% during the regular trading day to close at $13.24 and then tumbled another 3% on the earnings report. They are well below their IPO level and have established a new low in recent weeks.
Like rival Samsung as well as streaming providers like Roku, Vizio is working to establish itself as a destination for advertisers, especially via its SmartCast platform. Active SmartCast accounts increased 24% year-over-year to reach 15.1 million, while hours of streaming ticked up 11% to 3.9 billion.
Vizio has also continued to build its WatchFree+ service, adding more than 5,000 hours of programming from Disney, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn and other suppliers. WatchFree+ is now the No. 2 ad-supported app on SmartCast in terms of viewing time, with almost 50% of all SmartCast users watching it.
During a conference call with analysts, Vizio CFO Adam Townsend said market conditions in the quarter “remained challenging.” Nevertheless, he added, “our team worked diligently to improve channel inventories, which had been light coming into the quarter.”
Efforts to untangle inventory issues have enabled the company to be more aggressive in promotional efforts, even though discounting TV sets hits gross margins. The strategy at Vizio, which just turned 20 years old as a company, is to continue pursuing a dual revenue stream of owning hardware and software and using data from the latter to drive long-term growth.
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