Thursday, August 07, 2008

A few publicly-traded digital signage companies announce quarterly results

[UPDATE] This article continues to get a lot of traffic well after the events recorded below. So if you're here trying to locate a reputable digital signage company, you might want to check out our article on Choosing the Best Digital Signage Providers or visit our Digital Signage EasyStart site.

You know about my obsession with the big Chinese digital sign companies that trade on US Exchanges, but that doesn't mean I don't like to follow home-grown companies on the public markets as well. Today there were at least three announcements that I picked up:

Planar

As they do a lot more than just digital signage, it's tough to speculate how much money comes directly from sales of Coolsign software and monitors destined for the digital out-of-home world. So how'd they do? Well, not too good, as Bizjournals tells us. The good news is that revenues for Q3 of their year were up to $75M from $68.2M last year. The bad news is that it was mostly due to an acquisition, and what's more, they managed to somehow lose $62M in the process of making all that money. Unfortunately, it looks like a good deal of that loss stemmed from their control room and signage business, which is essentially what's left of their $56.1M acquisition of Clarity Visual Systems (who had themselves acquired Coolsign from Adspace in an earlier transaction). The company is selling off a medical imaging unit in the hopes of raising some much needed cash.

NTN Buzztime


A smaller company who's claim to fame are those quiz programs that are so popular at bars and louder restaurants around the country, these guys have been working hard to reach profitability for a while now. Working... but not quite there yet, as this press release notes. Revenues declined 8% from the same time last year to $7M even, though they had an operating loss of "only" $2.1M -- seems small compared to Planar, but then again, this time last year NTN only lost $377K.

Wireless Ronin

The good news: they managed to earn $1.6M this quarter. The bad news: that's down 48% from the same period last year. Worse, they managed to lose $5M in the course of earning that money, 5X what they lost last year around this quarter. Gross margins were 3.9%, which I don't quite understand since I thought Ronin was primarily a software and services company. Even their adjusted gross margins of 20.4% seem low to me, but I'm not at the helm of a publicly traded company...


...which is a GOOD thing, since my company likes to actually make money, and apparently that's a no-no when you're trading up on the big board. At least that's what my admittedly limited data set of the above 3 companies would suggest.

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5 comments:

Kathy Van Dyck said...

Hi Bill this is Kathy with Impact Digital Signs. We are a Florida company engaged in advertising supported networks. Does not seem like you get much feedback on this blog. Nevertheless, you have some great information on here. I am going to book mark it.

Thanks!

Retail Media Exec said...

It's just as easy to lose money in a private company. ;-)

Bill Gerba said...

Hi Kathy. We're in FL too (Fort Lauderdale). Nice to hear from a "local" of sorts.

RME: yup, true, though when things get tough for us we can't just issue a bunch of new shares to raise money (well, *technically* we can, but practically speaking no, not so much ;)

Anonymous said...

Why have you not commented on Newsight going under and the Meijer network going out for bid?

Bill Gerba said...

Well, to be honest I've not been keeping track of Newsight - they seemed just like another startup company with big dreams and no money. Plus, RNIN hasn't yet written them off completely (which will mean a very ugly restating of past years revenues), so I won't either... yet.

As for Meijer, I don't see how their network really impacts any of the publicly traded companies, except that maybe some of them will be bidding too. Or is there something else you were getting at here?