Perform revenue jumps but stock slumps on margins warning

TAGs: Perform, Perform Group, sports data

perform-groupUK-based digital sports media outfit Perform Group got off to a roaring start this year, recording 37% revenue growth over the first six months of 2013. Perform released a trading update ahead of its official Q2 figures in which it declared revenue of £92m, putting it well on pace to break 2012’s full year revenue of £166m. Perform attributed the growth spurt to the re-brand and re-launch of its product, as the iOS version is a bona fide hit in the Apple App Store, making the top-10 free sports category in over 50 countries. Perform Sporting News, the three-month-old partnership with US publisher American City Business, is already top-five in Comscore’s rankings.

Perform’s content distribution revenues were up 43% to £58m, £9m of which came via RunningBall, the data firm Perform acquired last year for £120m. Perform says progress has been positive in negotiating license renewals for subsidiary Watch&Bet ahead of the 2014 deadline. Advertising revenue was up 38% to £14.6m, while subscription revenues rose 18% to £7m and technology revenues were flat at £6m.

While it all sounds positive, Perform warned that the increased ad revenue now made up a higher proportion of total revenue, “creating some pressure on short-term margins.” Suitably skittish investors sent the stock – which had been the FTSE 350’s best performer this year – spiraling down over 7% on Thursday, closing at 540p.

Perform’s update made no mention of its rumored acquisition of Opta Sports Data, the UK firm formerly known as Sportingstatz, although Perform joint CEO Oliver Slipper said further acquisitions were in the offing. A couple weeks ago, the Telegraph claimed Opta’s venture capital backers Albion Capital were deep into negotiations to sell the company, which counts BSkyB, USA Today and the National Basketball Association among its licensees. Opta’s price tag has been estimated at £40m, a third of what Perform paid for Runningball.

Meanwhile, Perform released the findings of its third annual Global Sports Media Consumption Report, which showed the number of hours the average fan spent consuming sports in an average week rose from 6.2 to 8.1 last year. The Report, produced in conjunction with Kantar Media Sport and TV Sports Markets, studied sports consumption across 14 major markets. Television remains king with 97% of respondents enjoying sports on the telly. But online (61%) topped print (59%), mobile (33%) and connected TVs (10%). Just 4% of sports fans currently follow sport on their mobile while simultaneously watching sports on TV.


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