Crowd Mobile (ASX:CM8) CEO, Domenic Carosa, talks FY17 results, growth in its content, the importance of influencer marketing for brands and its solutions.
Jessica Amir: Hi I’m Jessica Amir for the Finance News Network. Joining me from Crowd Mobile (ASX:CM8) is CEO, Domenic Carosa. Domenic welcome.
Domenic Carosa: Thanks for having me today.
Jessica Amir: First up for those new to Crowd Mobile, can you give us an introduction to the company?
Domenic Carosa: Crowd Mobile is a mobile entertainment and digital media company, where we leverage our global technology platform across social media, as well as the growing area of digital influencers. And for those out there, what is a digital influencer? They are very much the new form of TV and TVC (TV commercial) for the millennial market, because as we know, they’re no longer watching TV, they’re watching You Tube, they’re watching Instagram. So the real growth area for Crowd Mobile is around the whole notion of digital influencers, as the new form of entertainment for the milennials.
Jessica Amir: Now to your FY17 results. Can you tell us some of your highlights?
Domenic Carosa: We’re very pleased with our FY17 results. We generated revenue of just shy of $44 million and EBITDA of over $9 million, for FY17 financial year. We had particularly strong performance within our Q&A, our question and answer division, which is really the outstanding performer with regards to the company. And that was mainly driven via the growth of digital influencer marketing.
Crowd Mobile has two core divisions in FY17. That was our Q&A, our question and answer division, which was our star performer and our recently acquired subscription division. The Q&A division performed exceptionally well. Our subscription division, there was a number of challenges throughout the FY17 financial year, which we’ve provided to the market. But we’ve now stabilised that particular division and we’re now focused on growing that. You may ask why did the Q&A division grow so strongly? It was mainly attributed to the growth of digital influencer marketing. One of the key stats is we’ve had significant growth around the number of digital influencer campaigns, which has ultimately led to the formation of our Crowd Media division, which we’re launching in FY18.
Jessica Amir: Now can you tell us about your new division, Crowd Media?
Domenic Carosa: So we’ve just launched Crowd Media, we’ve got two divisions within Crowd Media. We’ve got crowd.agency, which is a digital influencer agency focused in the European space. And how we came to form this particular division, was simply because we had customers and suppliers approaching us saying, we see you’re doing digital influencer marketing for your own products and it’s going so well. Can you now start doing it for us, for third party brands? So we’ve just launched crowd.agency, which is our agency. And to underpin that is a technology platform called Crowdly, which in effect allows influencers to monetise their audience around advertising, as well as through digital products. Leveraging the mobile payment network that we’ve built over the last 15 years.
Jessica Amir: I believe you’ve also reduced your debt levels too?
Domenic Carosa: The last 12 months has really been characterised by a head-down bum-up approach, where we focused on paying down our debt and growing our business organically. Our debt at the end of the financial year was at $2.8 million of net debt, which is a significant decrease from the close to $14 million of debt we had, the prior corresponding period. So we’re definitely quite pleased with that and now we can really get on with building the business, without having to worry about our balance sheet.
Jessica Amir: Can you share with us your strategy for growth?
Domenic Carosa: We have a four-point plan for FY18. First of all, the focus will be to continue working and increasing the number of digital influencers that we work with. The more digital influencers, the higher the potential revenue. Secondly, we will continue expanding our mobile payment network that currently spans over 60 countries, and over 200 telcos around the world. So in effect, looking at it as a distribution channel, so we’re going to continue expanding this.
Thirdly, and without wanting to get all sort of geeky and techy, is our API strategy where we open up our technology platforms around Q&A, subscription, mobile payments and influencers. And allowing third parties to tap into that. And that will in effect allow us to grow much faster, by allowing third parties to tap directly into our technology platforms. And then fourthly, will be through the creation of our own digital influencers and brand-funded content, which really ties the entire business together.
Jessica Amir: A more general question now Domenic. Can you tell us why exactly the digital influencer market is growing so rapidly?
Domenic Carosa: Digital influencer marketing is growing so rapidly, because the millenials are no longer watching TV and they’re, as we know, spending all of their time on their mobile phone, on social media. We’ve had significant success in working with particularly reality digital influencers. We’ve got one particular influencer that has an audience of over five million people in the UK, which is really a lot more than what a lot of TV channels get in terms of audience size. And that’s magnified over thousands of influencers that we work with year-on-year.
Jessica Amir: Last question Domenic before we let you go. What’s your focus for the next 12 months, and what’s your long-term ambition for the company?
Domenic Carosa: Our focus for the next 12 months is to continue growing out our Crowd Mobile and our Crowd Media divisions, organically. We’re continuing to build our technology platform, which will allow us to continue expanding the business, improving our margins, particularly with some of the AI, artificial intelligence initiatives that we’ve already implemented. And longer-term, our vision is to create a central hub for digital influencers that in effect, allow them to monetise their audience around advertising, as well as around digital products. And we really see this as being the future of Crowd Mobile.
Jessica Amir: Domenic Carosa, thank you so much for the introduction and good luck for the coming year.
Domenic Carosa: Thank you.