Monday, July 14, 2008

A Conversation with the CFO of Destiny Media Technologies (DSNY.OB)

After reading Destiny Media Technology's Q3 release, I spoke with Fred Vandenberg, the company's CFO, earlier today. I asked him about the decline in revenues y-o-y from its Clipstream product. He said that Destiny's focus had been on the MPE service (in terms of development, sales, etc.), so Clipstream suffered somewhat from that neglect, but he reiterated its advantages over Flash (e.g., that it uses 90% less bandwith, that it requires less processing power, etc.), and also reiterated his company's prediction in today's release that Clipstream revenues would increase significantly in the company's fiscal Q1 (since Destiny's fiscal year begins on September 1st, Q1 will be the Sep-Nov quarter).

I asked Vandenberg if he was familiar with Aaron Edelheit's VIC write-up of his company, and he said that he was. In light of today's announcement that Destiny expects to be profitable in its Q1 quarter, I asked him if he thought Edelheit's estimate of ~10 cents per share in fiscal '09 earnings sounded on target. Unsurprisingly, since Destiny Media didn't provide a specific earnings estimate for Q1, Vandenberg didn't want to get pinned down on a specific estimate for all of '09, citing some variables earnings would depend on (e.g., how many contracts get signed, etc.). He did, however, reiterate his confidence that Destiny Media would be profitable in its fiscal Q1.

In his VIC write-up, Edelheit had predicted that most of the companies that were using Destiny Media's MPE service on a trial basis would become paying clients this year. I asked Vandenberg about this, and he said that had been the case so far this year.

Vandenberg also said that one factor holding back MPE revenues somewhat has been that the pricing system has been complex. In trying to make the pricing flexible, Destiny Media may have gone so far in that direction that they made it too complicated, and that complexity may be inhibiting some clients from using the service as much as they would otherwise. Vandenberg said that Destiny was in the process of simplifying the pricing system and that process of simplifying it should be completed within the next few weeks. He said simplifying that pricing should lead to an increase in MPE service revenues.

9 comments:

Albert said...

Thanks for the info D.

DaveinHackensack said...

NP. Are you still planning on buying?

Albert said...

I am definitely leaning toward it. I don't see much of a downside from here. The question for me is whether there will actually be much growth in earnings. "Profitable" could be a penny per share. I'd like to do a little more due diligence tonight after work.

Albert said...

D,

Have you seen this presentation?

http://video.clipstream.com/content/d/destiny/briley08/

Albert said...

Sorry for the multiple posts, but I thought it was interesting that at about the 14 minute mark, the DSNY CEO claimed that the company was going to "ramp up" to "those sorts of levels" referring to a $20M domestic market, over the 18 months from April 08 forward.

I wonder whether they can keep costs down at the same time. I know AE claims that since the infrastructure is already in place, and all they're doing is now charging for something they used to do for free, costs shouldn't increase too much.

Albert said...

I also found some support for AE's estimate of $10M in revenue. One of the last questions to the CEO (at around 26:30) is about current usage. He says that they don't disclose the information, but "the current usage is probably about half of the $20M opportunity" (i.e. half of the $20M US domestic market opportunity).

It would seem that AE's facts have been relatively accurate here so far.

DaveinHackensack said...

Albert,

Thanks for that link. Here it is in clickable format: April '08 Presentation.

Regarding ramp-up costs, SG&A numbers are down y-o-y, which is encouraging.

I agree that so far AE seems on target. One meta-point: given this market environment, and given that DSNY was still a few quarters away from profitability when he wrote it up, maybe a lower-risk approach for AE would have been to wait until now or sometime between now and the next few months to buy, to have more time to see if his thesis was working out.

Albert said...

Yeah, so I pulled the trigger this morning. Thanks for the rec. Let's hope it all works out.

DaveinHackensack said...

Hope so too, Albert.