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Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 25, 2012, 05:00 p.m. ET


Aaron Felix – Senior Manager of IR

Timothy Sullivan – President, CEO & Director

Howard Hochhauser – COO & CFO


Anil Gupta – Imperial Capital

Martin Pyykkonen – edge Securities

Mark Stephen Mahaney – Citigroup

Gene A. Munster – Piper Jaffray



Good day, everyone and welcome to the Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Call. As a reminder, today’s conference call is being recorded.

At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Aaron Felix. Please go ahead.

Aaron Felix

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Thank you. Before CEO Tim Sullivan begins the discussion, I would like to take care of a few housekeeping items. Along with our earnings release, we’ve posted on the company’s Investor Relations website an updated Investor Presentation, as well as a presentation related to our recently launched AncestryDNA product.

In our remarks today we will include statements that are considered forward-looking within the meaning of the securities laws. Forward-looking statements are based on management’s current knowledge and expectations and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ from the forward-looking statements. A detailed discussion of such risks and uncertainties is contained in our quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2012. The company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. We will also refer to certain non-GAAP measures, which in combination with GAAP results provide additional analytic tools to understand our operations. You can find a reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the GAAP results included in our press release. A reconciliation is also posted on the company’s Investor Relations website found at A rebroadcast of this call will be available on our website after 6 PM Mountain Time today.

And now, I’ll turn the call over to Tim.

Tim Sullivan

Thank you very much, Aaron. Let me start by saying that we are certainly pleased to have delivered another terrific quarter. Across almost every measure of our business, our second quarter exceeded our expectations and guidance ranges. And as we announced in the press release on July 2, we surpassed the 2 million subscriber mark in late June. This quarter’s 20% growth in net subscribers was driven by a very solid 12% growth in gross subscriber additions and a 3.4% monthly churn rate, the lowest rate of subscriber churn we’ve seen in nine quarters.

As Howard will address in a few minutes, there are some one-time dynamics in Q2 that especially benefited our churn, so we are not forecasting churn to be this low in the second half of 2012. But it is worth confirming that this directional reduction in churn is primarily the result of the pricing optimization work that we undertook in Q4 of last year when we modified our pricing and packaging to encourage new subscribers to opt for one of our longer term packages. Our goal then was to increase average lifetime value for new subscribers, while also reducing churn over the long term and not negatively impacting conversion rates.

So six months in, we’re happy to confirm that new subscriber behavior has tracked very closely to our modeled expectations for this change. Our average lifetime value for new subscribers is up about 10% from where it was with our old pricing and packaging and we have more subscribers in a longer-term subscription relationship with us now. In fact, as of June 30, only 27% of our total subscribers are currently in a month-to-month subscription, which is down from 33% at Q2 2011, and the lowest it has been since Q4 2009. In addition, subscribers who signed up to this new six-month package at the beginning of 2012 have started to come up for renewal. And while we have only limited data at this point, we do feel good about the renewal behavior that we’re seeing to date. So we’re definitely pleased that this strong second quarter has set us up for a solid second half of the year, which Howard will speak to shortly.

To briefly address the drivers of our strong subscriber growth in Q2, I would highlight a couple of items. First, we certainly benefited from the final weeks of NBC’s broadcast of Who Do You Think You Are? which this year ran a few weeks longer than in season two. Let me also make a couple of general comments about Who Do You Think You Are? as well as our perspective on possible future television integration opportunities. I assume that most of you know that NBC chose not to pick up the show for a fourth season. But I will say that we remain as committed as ever to finding, supporting and sponsoring high quality television programming that communicates the powerful emotions that come from making amazing family history discoveries. Last week’s Emmy nomination for Who Do You Think You Are? is clear evidence that family history can make great television. And we feel that there is still real interest in this kind of programming from both broadcasters and production entities. Without addressing any specific plans, our long term goal would be to continue to invest in television programming that celebrates family history, highlights our brand and contributes to profitable customer acquisition, so long as such a show has the right distribution and our overall economics of involvement makes sense to us.

I talked a lot on the last call about the impact also of the 1940 Census, and in particular our work in making this valuable data more engaging and useful for our subscribers. With images first released on on April 2 and multiple states fully indexed and live on the site throughout the quarter, our 1940 rollout plans are very much on track. Specifically, I’m very excited to report that we’ve now completed our keying transcription for the 1940 Census and we’re looking forward to releasing all 50 states to Ancestry within the next few months.

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