Twitter Shares Slide on Sluggish Q4 Revenue

But social media giant sees usage grow, streams more than 600 hours of live premium video in quarter
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Twitter shares were down more than 9% in pre-market trading Thursday after the social media and budding video streaming platform announced disappointing Q4 revenue.

Twitter said Q4 revenue rose 1% to $717 million, while ad revenue dropped slightly to $638 million, as growth in video was offset by declines in revenue generated from traditional Promoted Tweet and direct response ad formats. Twitter said mobile ad revenue was 89% of total ad revenue. U.S. revenue dropped 5%, to $440 million. 

Twitter also posted a Q4 GAAP loss from operations of $144 million, widened from $67 million in the year-ago period.

As a bright spot, Twitter’s average monthly active users rose 4% in Q4, to 319 million, on a year-over-year basis, and was up by 2 million versus Q3 2016. Average U.S. MAUs rose 3%, to 67 million. Mobile MAUs represented 83% of total MAUs.

Twitter noted in its investor letter that it expects revenue growth to continue to lag audience growth in 2017, and “could now be further impacted by escalating competition for digital ad spending and the re-evaluation of our revenue product feature portfolio, which could result in the de-emphasis of certain product features.”

For full-year 2016, Twitter said revenue rose 14%, to $2.5 billion, along with a GAAP net loss of $457 million and non-GAAP net income of $406 million.

In Q4, Twitter streamed more than 600 hours of live premium video from partners spanning about 400 events, and attracting about 31 million unique viewers (33% of which was international), the company noted in its shareholder letter.

Of that streaming total, 52% of were for sports, 38% news and politics, and 10% in the entertainment category. Twitter said its first shot at streaming Thursday night NFL games (10 in all) delivered a per-game average of more than 3.5 million unique viewers.