Twitter revenue rises 97% in 4th quarter

Written By kom nampuldu on Jumat, 06 Februari 2015 | 20.49

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo didn't deliver the user numbers Wall Street wanted, but at least he showed them the money.

Shares of the social-networking site soared more than 10 percent in after-hours trades Thursday after the company missed on a crucial user metric (monthly active users), but pledged the figure will soon improve as it reported better-than-expected sales and profits.

For the fourth quarter, revenue surged to $479 million, up 97 percent from a year ago, blowing past analysts' forecast of $453.6 million. Adjusted earnings per share, excluding stock-based compensation, were 12 cents, doubling the consensus.

Twitter shares, which have been hammered over the past year on worries that its pace of growth doesn't justify the price, rose as high as $45.50 in after-hours trading, giving the company a market capitalization of $28.4 billion.

Nevertheless, Twitter's tally of MAUs, a key measure that's closely watched by investors, totaled just 288 million in the fourth quarter. That was up by just 4 million, or 1.4 percent, from the third quarter and missed Wall Street's forecast of 295 million.

That also officially marks Twitter as smaller than Instagram, the photo-sharing network owned by Facebook, which in December announced it had 300 million users.

Costolo, who has faced increasing heat about Twitter's sluggish user growth, partly blamed the lackluster numbers on an "unforeseen bug" in the new iOS 8 operating system that powers the iPhone 6.

A quirk in iOS 8's Safari browser eliminated Twitter links for about 3 million users, execs said.

Twitter lost another 1 million users as customers who bought the new iPhone 6 didn't reinstall their Twitter apps.

"Once we understood the issue, we moved as fast as we could," Costolo said on a Thursday conference call. "But it wasn't a one-size-fits-all fix."

Meanwhile, Costolo pledged that Twitter's user ranks are now set to resume the double-digit pace of growth they saw during the first three quarters of the year, boosted by a slew of new enhancements for the site.

Earlier this week, Twitter announced it will distribute ads on other news sites, including Yahoo Japan. On Thursday, it said it will partner with Google in a deal to allow tweets to turn up on the search engine.

Twitter execs were stingy with details on the Google deal, saying only that it's designed to attract more eyeballs who aren't logged into Twitter.

"This is not something you're going to see launched or rolled out for several months," Costolo warned.

Separately Thursday, an internal memo leaked in which Costolo told employees: "We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years. It's no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day.

I'm frankly ashamed of how poorly we've dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It's absurd. There's no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It's nobody else's fault but mine, and it's embarrassing."


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