TheStreet.com (TST)

Q1 2011 Earnings Call

May 05, 2011 4:30 pm ET

Executives

Daryl Otte - Chief Executive Officer and Director

Thomas Etergino - Chief Financial Officer

Unknown Executive -

Analysts

Michael Moskoff - MRM Capital

Unknown Analyst -

Presentation

Operator

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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the TheStreet Quarter 1 2011 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the conference over to your host for today, Mr. Paul Cox, Investor Relations of TheStreet. Please proceed.

Unknown Executive

Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us to discuss TheStreet's financial and operating results for the first quarter of 2011. This call is being webcast live on the Investor Relations section of TheStreet's website at www.t.st. This call is property of TheStreet and any recording, reproduction or transmission of this call without the express written consent of TheStreet is strictly prohibited. As a reminder, today's call is being recorded. You may listen to a webcast replay of this call by going to the Investor Relations section of TheStreet's website.

With me today are Daryl Otte, Chief Executive Officer; and Tom Etergino, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Today, Daryl will begin with an overview of the first quarter and Tom will review Q1 financial results.

All statements made on this call, other than statements of historical facts, are deemed to be forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including those described in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that could cause actual results to differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements. Although the company believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, the company cannot guarantee future results or occurrences. The company disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. You may obtain copies of the company's filings with the SEC at the commission's website, www.sec.gov. Any additional information related to matters discussed today also will be set forth in the company's quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the first quarter of 2011, which we expect to file shortly.

During the second quarter of 2011, the company will participate in the 10th Annual JMP Securities Research Conference on Monday, May 9, in San Francisco, and the 12th Annual B. Riley & Co. Investor Conference in Santa Monica on Tuesday, May 24.

Now I will turn the call over to Daryl Otte.

Daryl Otte

Thanks, Paul. Welcome to our first quarter of 2011 earnings call. I'm pleased to report that our first quarter results were strong with $14.1 million in revenue, a 7% year-over-year increase from continuing businesses. In the first quarter, we executed on our strategic plan and began to deliver returns on the many investments we made last year.

Before I go into details for the first quarter, I would like to reiterate some of the primary elements of our strategic plan for the business and describe how the new team we put in place over the last 18 months is executing on that plan.

Our strategic plan is designed to build long-term profitable growth and value on the proven and profitable business model inherent in critical media. We are applying this model against our key assets, which are TheStreet's strong market position and brands in the finance circle, our robust editorial content and our strong advertising and subscription monetization skills.

We are focused on generating original, top quality, timely content and monetizing the consumption of that content with diverse and robust revenue stream. We create a large volume of content, over 3,000 original articles and 500 videos a month, produced at high journalistic standards with deep domain experience and overlaid with strong publishing skills.

We also offer an increasingly growing suite of data tool abilities and, notably, just this week on our new iPad app. All of this content is produced by our professional in-house editorial team and through a select group of hand-chosen practicing professionals. This content, because of its quality and relevance, attract highly engaged users, affluent, educated professionals who come to our content for a purpose. These users attract both endemic advertisers in the financial category and non-endemic advertisers that are attracted to the demographic characteristics of our audience and the high level of engagement they have with our sites.

We have been an industry leader in building a large-scale consumer subscription business in digital media, having both subscription revenue and advertising revenue allows us to monetize our high-quality content in a superior manner.

A key part of our strategy has been to build the size of the audience to business our network, all maintaining the targeted and highly valuable demographic characteristics of that audience. All the audience growth is a precursor to revenue growth for both of our premium services and advertising businesses, which in turn allows us to earn a higher return on investment on a relatively fixed cost of our business.

I have described 2010 as a reset year for the company, during which we made significant investments beginning in Q2 with the objective of strengthening our platform and building our team to support our strategy. We get this but the commitments remain operating cash flow-positive and adjusted EBITDA-positive for the year, which we achieved.

These investments include key steps to replace legacy technologies, such as our web technology and commerce infrastructure, building out our subscription telesales capability, investing in our display advertising sales and content-creation teams and expanding distribution channels for both our advertising-supported and our premium content. We implemented a new approach to our chief count agreements, focused on lowering our fixed cost or aligning our closely individual interest for those of the company through revenue-derived royalty. We updated our brand and corporate identity, refreshing our name and ticker symbol, and introducing a more modern and graphic identity system and logo.

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