|By Marketwired .||
|May 22, 2014 05:45 AM EDT||
WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwired) -- 05/22/14 -- Cricket Media (TSX VENTURE: CKT) ("Cricket Media" or the "Company") an education media company and global social learning network, today released its operating results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2014. Results were prepared by management in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"). All figures are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated.
On April 16, 2014 the Company announced its rebranding and commenced operating under the name Cricket Media. The new brand identity reflects the Company's core business of providing award-winning educational content in multiple languages (English, Spanish and Mandarin) on a world-wide child-safe social learning network. The Company will seek the approval of its shareholders to affect a legal corporate entity name change at the Company's annual and special meeting of shareholders scheduled to occur on June 24, 2014.
Conference call today at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time
To participate in the call, please dial +1-719-325-2429 or 1-888-455-2263 approximately 10 minutes prior to the conference call, and enter passcode 5366017. A recording of the conference call will be available through June 15, 2014 by dialing +1-719-457-0820 or 1-888-203-1112 and entering the passcode 5366017.
- Total revenue of $4.6m
- Cost containment initiatives take effect; Q1 operating expenses decreased $2.3m or 24% year-over-year
- Content licensing revenue grows 54% year-over-year
- Number of media subscriptions increased 10% year-over-year
- Won eighteen (18) 2014 Parents' Choice Awards for its media products (English and Spanish) including fifteen (15) Gold medals.
- Expanded reach and opportunity through several partnerships (Pearson, Fingerprint, Smithsonian, Kindoma)
- Rolling out our China JV products, expanding footprint in China
"In the first quarter, the benefit of our recent focus on cost efficiencies was reflected in lower operating expenses. At the same time, we maintained our concentration on business lines with revenue traction including annual subscriptions, content licensing, e-commerce, and sponsorship advertising," said CEO Katya Andresen. "This is the equation that we believe will lead us to operating cash flow positive as we leverage our unique and valuable educational content assets, integrate them with our social platform and expand our reach internationally through multiple partnerships around the world."
During the first quarter the Company's children's media was honored with eighteen Parents' Choice Awards including fifteen Gold medals. All of the Company's brands, in both English and Spanish, were honored by the Parents' Choice committee.
Digital adoption increased as a result of offering digital subscribers the ability to access Cricket Media products via the platform of their choice -- IOS, Android, or the web. As the percentage of total revenue derived from higher margin digital subscriptions and licensing increases, the overall Cricket Media business model improves. During the quarter, the Company expanded its licensing and sponsorship reach through several partnerships and product launches:
The Company announced a partnership with Pearson Online Learning Exchange (OLE) to license for use the Company's digital content to the OLE platform. The licensing arrangement for the OLE platform is an extension of Pearson's use of Cricket Media content in its products and services. Pearson's Online Learning Exchange saves teachers time by enabling searching of a comprehensive K-12 digital library of Common Core teaching resources and simple tools to create their own customized lessons.
The Company announced an agreement with Fingerprint, a global mobile technology company, to develop a custom mobile learning network featuring Cricket Media digital content to enable family members and other parent-approved users to communicate and collaborate around engaging, educational experiences while providing parents with dashboards relating to a child's activities. As part of the partnership, Cricket Media also will offer its digital content to Fingerprint's growing partner networks around the globe. The Cricket Media Mobile Learning Network is expected to launch worldwide later this year for iOS and Android.
The Company expanded its partnership with the Smithsonian during the quarter. The Smithsonian "Invent It" challenge was launched in January 2014 and allows K-12 participants to devise inventions that solve real world problems. This collaboration with the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation is an example of the Company's strategy to increase user engagement with specific challenges and curricula. In addition, the Company launched for the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage a curricula and virtual, global exchange for K-12 students. Classrooms from China, US, India, Australia and Canada are participating in the digital cultural exchange.
The Company expanded mobile access to Cricket Media content through a partnership announced with Kindoma, a recognized creator of mobile apps that combine shared reading experiences with video chat for families. The Kindoma app is designed to connect families when they are apart through reading together using video chat while interacting with other app tools.
The total number of media subscriptions grew 10% over Q1 2013. Customers increasingly adopted digital products with 19% of new customers selecting a digital option in Q1 2014, nearly 6x the ratio in Q1 2013 (3.3%). Content licensing revenues grew by 54% in Q1 2014 compared to the first quarter of 2013 as a result of increased demand for Cricket Media content. Commerce sales for the period were down 32% year-over-year, largely due to timing of a large partner order scheduled for March but which arrived in April.
In China the Company implemented a new platform powered by Cricket Media application program interfaces (API's) to power its flagship school product (IECLS) via its joint venture with Neusoft, "NeuPals". This is the first implementation of the Company's new web services, which make it easier for partners to integrate Cricket Media's collaboration capabilities into their own products. IECLS is a paid subscription product for Chinese schools which provides access to cultural exchange curricula, collaborative learning environments and the ePals Global Community as well as safe and secure email services. In addition to the Hunnan district schools using the product, a new pilot of the IECLS product was initiated in the city of Dalian during the quarter. This pilot represents new territory for NeuPals products and services.
The Company also signed an agreement with NeuEdu, a unit of Neusoft Holdings, under which NeuEdu will perform technology development work for the Company. Having NeuEdu perform these services, primarily related to coding, is expected to result in cost reductions for the Company.
Subsequent to the close of the first quarter the Company announced an agreement with Dalian Neumedias Information Technology Co., Ltd ("Neumedias") to develop and distribute interactive digital media products based on Cricket Media's award winning children's magazines for children throughout China. Neumedias is a digital publishing company owned by Neusoft Holdings, one of the largest IT services company in China.
Under the agreement, four publication brands of dual English-Chinese language apps and content for toddlers and young children will be offered on smartphones, tablets and smart TVs through Neumedias' NeuStore digital media platform. The products are expected to be released this summer, with the potential to expand to additional Cricket Media brands. This partnership between Cricket Media and Neumedias builds on the relationship in China between Cricket Media and the Neusoft family of companies, which includes the NeuPals joint venture providing Chinese schools with an online platform for collaborative learning. The relationship between Cricket Media and Neumedias is separate from that joint venture.
Q1 Financial Review
Total revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2014 and three months ended March 31, 2013 was $4.6 million. Licensing revenue, which consists of content licensing and legacy enterprise licensing revenue, increased $140,000, or 48%, from $0.3 million to $0.4 million for the first quarter of 2014 compared to the prior year period driven by new content licensing deals with new and existing customers resulting from shifting resources away from the direct sales model the Company used in the prior year, partially offset by a decline in the legacy enterprise licensing revenue as a result of our shift in strategy. Subscription revenues, which were $3.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2014 and March 31, 2013, increased $44,000, or 1%, during the first quarter of 2014 compared to the prior year period. While a 10% increase in subscriptions drove an increase in revenues, the increase was offset by a lower average subscription price. The lower average subscription price is the result of a strategy to more aggressively acquire new subscribers in an effort to increase exposure to the Company's full family of subscription products and other products. Commerce revenue decreased approximately $127,000, or 32%, from $0.4 million to $0.3 million during the first quarter of 2014 compared to the prior year period primarily due to a timing difference associated with a renewal from an institutional customer, which was subsequently received in April 2014. Sponsorship and advertising revenue decreased $56,000, or 24%, during the first quarter of 2014 compared to the prior 2013 period due to a decrease in advertising revenues driven by a drop in average cost per thousand impressions (CPM). The Company is working with its partners to expand the number of impressions with existing customers to increase advertising revenue.
Operating expenses for the first quarter of 2014 were $7.5 million, a decrease of approximately $2.3 million, or 24%, compared to $9.9 million during the prior year period primarily due to the Company's expense reduction initiatives which included focusing on near term revenue opportunities, streamlining senior management, and identifying outsourcing opportunities. This decrease was reflected in lower marketing and promotion expenses, stock-based compensation, operations and support costs, costs of sales, and technology, research and development expenses. Marketing and promotion expenses decreased approximately $0.8 million, or 48%, to $0.9 million from $1.6 million during the first quarter of 2014 compared to the prior year period due to a reduction in headcount, including employees and consultants, and a decrease in event related expenses resulting from the elimination of trade shows which previously supported the enterprise licensing initiatives. Stock-based compensation decreased $0.5 million, or 76%, to $0.2 million from $0.6 million during the three months ended March 31, 2014 compared to the prior year period due primarily to a reduction in number and fair value of awards granted to the Company's employees. Operations and support costs decreased $0.4 million, or 29%, to $0.9 million during the first quarter of 2014 compared to the prior year period as a result of reduced expenses relating to consultants and other contractors. Cost of sales decreased $0.3 million, or 12%, to $2.5 million compared to the prior year period due primarily to the elimination of the direct sales force associated with the Company's legacy standalone enterprise platform products, savings on print publication materials resulting from a renegotiated contract, lower commerce revenues in the quarter, and a reduction in sales commissions to third party agencies. Technology, research and development costs decreased $0.3 million, or 23%, to $1.1 million for the first quarter of 2014 primarily due to a reduction in headcount for both employees and consultants. While operating costs are down $2.3 million compared to the prior period, we expect our marketing and technology related costs to increase in future quarters to support the expansion of the Company's media business and new product launch initiatives.
At March 31, 2014 Cricket Media had approximately $600,000 in cash and cash equivalents. In the first quarter of 2014, the Company closed the first tranche of a non-brokered private placement and issued approximately 7.4 million units of the Company ("Units") at a price of CAD$0.075 per Unit for gross proceeds of approximately $500,000. Each Unit consisted of one restricted voting common share of the Company and one-third of one common share purchase warrant (each whole warrant a "Warrant"). Each Warrant entitles the holder to purchase one additional restricted voting common share of the Company at a price of CAD$0.075 until August 31, 2014. Subsequent to quarter-end, the Company raised an additional $3.0 million through a combination of private placements and borrowings under its revolving credit facility. The Company intends to use the net proceeds for general corporate purposes and working capital.
Net loss for the first quarter of 2014 was $3.1 million, or $(0.01) per share, compared to a net loss of $3.4 million, or $(0.02) per share for the prior year period. This decrease in net loss was primarily due to the factors discussed above and an increase in foreign currency exchange gains offset by lower gains associated with the change in fair value of derivatives and increased interest expense related to additional debentures issued during the second and third quarters of 2013.
As of May 15, 2014, Cricket Media had a total of 369,149,001 common shares outstanding, of which 120,967,142 are voting common shares and 248,181,859 are restricted voting common shares.
Important factors, including those discussed in Cricket Media's regulatory filings (available under ePals Corporation's SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com), could cause actual results to differ from Cricket Media's expectations and those differences may be material. Cricket Media's financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2014, together with the related management's discussion & analysis, will be filed under ePals Corporation's SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com on May 22, 2014.
About Cricket Media
ePals Corporation, doing business as Cricket Media (TSX VENTURE: CKT), is an education media company that provides award-winning content on a safe and secure learning network for children, families and teachers across the world. Cricket Media's 14 popular media brands for toddlers to teens include Babybug, Ladybug, Cricket® and Cobblestone® with multiple language editions and apps in English, Spanish and Chinese. The Company's innovative web-based K12 tools for school and home include the ePals community and virtual classroom for global collaboration as well as In2Books®, a Common Core eMentoring program that builds reading, writing and critical thinking skills. Cricket Media serves approximately one million classrooms and millions of teachers, students and parents in over 200 countries and territories through its platform and NeuPals, its joint venture with China's leading IT services company Neusoft. Cricket Media also licenses its content and platform to top publishing and educational companies worldwide. For more information, please visit www.Cricketmag.com, www.ePals.com and www.In2Books.com.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information
Certain statements contained in this press release constitute forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including statements with respect to customers, ventures; partnerships; contributions and/or prospects of one or more of the Company's business lines; the Company's strategy, prospects and success in pursuing domestic or international markets; and the Company's anticipated plans to increase its subscriptions, revenue, sales and ARPU. These statements relate to future events or future performance. Often, but not always, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates", or "believes" or variations (including negative variations) of such words and phrases, or statements formed in the future tense or indicating that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" (or other variations of the forgoing) be taken, occur, be achieved, or come to pass. Forward-looking information is necessarily based upon a number of assumptions and factors that, while considered reasonable, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Those assumptions and factors are based on information currently available to the Company. Such material factors and assumptions include, but are not limited to: the Company's ability to execute on its business plan; the acceptance of the Company's products and services by customers globally; that the Company's affiliated entities will be able to secure distribution partners for sale of the Company's products and services; the Company's subjective assessment of the likelihood of success of a sales lead or opportunity; that sales will be completed at or above estimated margins; that the demand for secure email communication as well as education media related products domestically, in Europe and in China will continue to grow; that the demand for the Company's products and services globally will develop and grow; the receipt of all requisite regulatory approvals throughout venture territories for the sale of the Company's products and services; the availability of additional financing, if and when required and market conditions generally. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results to differ from those anticipated, estimated or intended. The forward-looking information contained in this press release is made as of the date hereof and the Company is not obligated to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable securities laws. Because of the risks, uncertainties and assumptions contained herein, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The foregoing statements expressly qualify any forward-looking information contained herein.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release
ePals Corporation D/B/A Cricket Media Condensed Consolidated Interim Statements of Financial Position March 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013 (Unaudited) March 31, December 31, 2014 2013 -------------- -------------- Assets Current assets Cash & cash equivalents $ 585,984 $ 3,641,985 Accounts receivable, net of allowance for doubtful accounts 942,582 1,265,834 Inventory 639,543 538,163 Other current assets 1,071,687 1,139,455 -------------- -------------- Total current assets 3,239,796 6,585,437 Property and equipment, net 380,083 449,208 Investment in NeuPals 722,684 811,929 Goodwill 14,475,807 14,419,953 Other intangible assets, net 7,867,820 7,876,341 Restricted cash 75,966 75,966 Other assets 63,503 63,503 -------------- -------------- Total assets $ 26,825,659 $ 30,282,337 ============== ============== Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity (Deficit) Current liabilities Accounts payable and accrued expenses $ 5,466,512 $ 6,167,356 Accrued interest 1,098,182 762,210 Acquisition consideration liabilities, current 434,178 584,178 Deferred revenue, current 4,969,404 6,422,165 Bank line-of-credit 1,500,000 1,500,000 Notes payable to related parties 1,150,000 1,500,000 Finance lease obligations, current 63,736 65,716 Other current liabilities 164,125 90,795 -------------- -------------- Total current liabilities 14,846,137 17,092,420 Secured convertible debentures 18,333,810 18,399,596 Deferred revenue, less current portion 605,136 851,854 Finance lease obligations, less current portion 101,378 117,507 Other liabilities 11,440 11,440 -------------- -------------- Total liabilities 33,897,901 36,472,817 -------------- -------------- Commitments and contingencies Stockholders' equity (deficit) Share capital 106,434,655 104,912,731 Additional paid-in capital 8,031,766 7,352,232 Accumulated deficit (119,923,534) (116,809,681) Unvested voting common stock - (1,876) Accumulated other comprehensive loss (123,081) (151,838) Less: Treasury stock (719,998 shares) (1,492,048) (1,492,048) -------------- -------------- Total stockholders' equity (deficit) (7,072,242) (6,190,480) -------------- -------------- Total liabilities and stockholders' equity (deficit) $ 26,825,659 $ 30,282,337 ============== ============== ePals Corporation D/B/A Cricket Media Condensed Consolidated Interim Statements of Comprehensive Loss Three Months Ended March 31, 2014 and 2013 (Unaudited) Three Months Ended March 31, 2014 2013 -------------- -------------- Revenue $ 4,618,680 $ 4,617,058 Operating expenses: Cost of sales $ 2,514,499 $ 2,857,976 Technology, research & development costs 1,130,450 1,468,712 Operations and support expenses 866,976 1,217,858 General and administrative expenses 1,580,483 1,663,359 Marketing and promotion expenses 853,477 1,641,326 Stock-based compensation 152,681 639,366 Depreciation & amortization 318,785 315,895 Loss on investment in NeuPals 89,245 28,269 Financing transaction costs 4,251 18,235 -------------- -------------- Total operating expenses 7,510,847 9,850,996 -------------- -------------- Loss from operations (2,892,167) (5,233,938) Other income (expense): Gain from change in fair value of derivatives 59,000 2,279,000 Interest expense, net (1,027,692) (554,564) Other income 7,507 - Net foreign currency exchange gains 739,499 135,220 -------------- -------------- Net loss (3,113,853) (3,374,282) Other comprehensive income (loss): Items that may be subsequently reclassfied into net income/loss Foreign currency translation 28,757 34,766 -------------- -------------- Total comprehensive loss $ (3,085,096) $ (3,339,516) ============== ============== Net loss per common share: Basic and diluted $ (0.01) $ (0.02) ============== ============== Weighted average number of common shares: Basic and diluted 308,039,117 161,065,817 ============== ==============
ePals Corporation D/B/A Cricket Media Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows Three Months Ended March 31, 2014 and 2013 (Unaudited) Three Months Ended March 31, 2014 2013 -------------- -------------- Cash flows from operating activities: Net loss $ (3,113,853) $ (3,374,282) Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash used in operating activities: Gain from change in fair value of derivatives (59,000) (2,279,000) Depreciation and amortization 318,785 315,895 Stock-based compensation 152,681 639,366 Bad debt expense (recovery) (30,764) 60,956 Loss on investment in NeuPals 89,245 28,269 Amortization of financing costs from debentures 603,317 362,744 Net foreign currency exchange (gains) losses (739,499) (135,220) Restricted share vesting 1,876 1,876 Changes in operating assets and liabilities: Accounts receivable 354,016 544,140 Inventory (101,380) (16,825) Other current assets 67,768 (26,490) Accounts payable and accrued expenses (364,873) 409,204 Deferred revenue (1,699,479) (1,457,912) Other (20,505) 38,584 -------------- -------------- Total adjustments (1,427,812) (1,514,413) -------------- -------------- Net cash used in operating activities (4, 541,665) (4,888,695) -------------- -------------- Cash flows from investing activities: Cash paid for acquisitions (48,226) (239,848) Increase in intangible and other assets (51,642) (247,246) -------------- -------------- Net cash used in investing activities (99,868) (487,094) -------------- -------------- Cash flows from financing activities: Proceeds from secured convertible debentures, net of expenses - 2,763,480 Proceeds from notes payable to related parties, net of cash repayments 1,150,000 800,000 Proceeds from private placement, net of expenses 457,089 - Payments on finance lease obligations (19,258) (20,779) Proceeds from finance lease financing - 163,742 -------------- -------------- Net cash provided by financing activities 1,587,831 3,706,443 -------------- -------------- Decrease in cash & cash equivalents (3,053,702) (1,669,346) Effect of exchange rates on cash (2,299) (13,998) Cash & cash equivalents at the beginning of the period 3,641,985 3,948,499 -------------- -------------- Cash & cash equivalents at the end of the period $ 585,984 $ 2,265,155 ============== ============== Non-cash financing activities: Issuance of common shares in connection with acquisition consideration liabilities $ 150,000 $ - Issuance of common shares related to credit facility from insider $ 1,500,000 $ - Supplemental disclosures of cash flow information: Cash paid for interest $ 17,501 $ 12,961 Cash paid for income taxes - 20,222
Refer to the notes of Condensed Consolidated Interim Financial Report for the three months ended March 31, 2014 filed at www.sedar.com on May 22, 2014 as these notes are an integral part of these financial statements.
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