Twitter Reports First Revenue Decline Since Going Public

Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) reported a quarterly revenue decline Wednesday, its first since going public in 2013. The company reported revenue of $548.3 million, down 8 percent year over year. In the same period a year earlier, Twitter’s revenue growth was 36 percent. Its net loss for the quarter was $61.6 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with a loss of $79.7 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier.

Twitter’s quarterly results still surpassed Wall Street’s modest expectations. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 11 cents per share, 4 cents lower than a year earlier. Wall Street expected adjusted income of 2 cents on revenue of $517.3 million.

Twitter still faces slow user growth. Twitter reported that average monthly active users rose 6 percent in the first quarter from the same quarter of last year. The company said it had an average of 328 million monthly users during the first quarter, a 3 percent rise over the 319 million reported during the previous quarter.

Signs are emerging that those already on Twitter are using it more. The company reported an increase in users’ daily usage in the first quarter. Its daily active usage increased by 14 percent year over year, following an 11 percent increase in the previous quarter and a 7 percent the quarter before that. Daily usage has been increasing at a faster pace each quarter for the past year.

U.S. President Donald Trump is a prolific Twitter user. His frequent tweets reach well beyond his 28 million Twitter followers. However, America’s first true “Twitter President” hasn’t inspired others to sign up for Twitter. Twitter’s public nature means that anyone can read Trump’s posts, as long as they are shared publicly.

Twitter wants to become a place where people can go to find out real-time information and talk about it with friends and strangers. Last year, Twitter started streaming live video on its site from sports, entertainment and news partners, including Bloomberg. The 10 Thursday Night Football games Twitter streamed last year were called “the major highlight of the fourth quarter.” The NFL deal likely contributed about 1 percent of Twitter’s 2016 revenue. Video ads were the fastest-growing ad unit, generating the most revenue.

Twitter’s shares surged as much as 12 percent after the earnings announcement, the most in seven months. The stock is down about 10 percent so far this year.