UPDATE, 3:05 PM: Facebook may become a major force in the premium video content business, but execs for now still are playing around the edges based on executives’ comments to analysts in today’s quarterly conference call.
In video, Facebook mostly appeals to users who post their own short clips. “That trend will continue,” COO Sheryl Sandberg says.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg sounded more enthusiastic about the potential for virtual reality via the company’s Oculus VR. But he still sees it as primarily for gamers — especially the 250 million owners of consoles including Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii. “We think this is going to be a new way people interact,” he says. It’s “going to be a big area of investment for us.”
Facebook shares were up 12.4% in post market trading after the call.
PREVIOUS, 1:17 PM: Wall Street’s hitting the “Like” button — pushing shares up more than 7% in postmarket trading — after Facebook solidly beat analyst forecasts for its results in the last three months of 2015.
The social network company reported net income of $1.56 billion, up nearly 123% vs the period last year, on revenues of $5.84 billion, up 51.7%. The Street was looking for $5.37 billion on the top line. Adjusted earnings at 79 cents a share also were well ahead of the consensus forecast of 69 cents.
“Our community continued to grow and our business is thriving,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg says. (Execs will have more to say shortly in a conference call with analysts.)
Facebook says about 1.59 billion people actively used the service each month, a 14% increase vs. the period last year.
And mobile advertising sales accounted for 80% of total ad revenues, up from 69% last year. This is a closely watched number among investors who want to be sure that Facebook can remain relevant to advertisers as users increasingly access the service on smartphones.
Facebook’s stock price appreciated 25% during the past 12 months, including a 9.3% drop — just a little worse than the overall market — since the beginning of 2016.