Monday, August 16, 2010

Hold on

Normally when a company puts out a press release about their quarterly or annual results, they'll find the most positive thing and put it at the beginning of the press release. Perhaps sales tanked, revenue tanked, and everything else tanked, but the company will find some little itty bitty thing to trumpet.

Perhaps Michael Bush is of a different breed, but check how NTN Buzztime's most recent quarterly press release began:

"While our financial results for the second quarter of 2010 remain relatively stable overall, our termination rates and churn percentages continue to reach unacceptable levels, offsetting gains from customers acquired during the period and therefore suppressing revenue growth. Having now completed our initial strategic review of the business, we are now fully engaged in executing on key initiatives that we believe will lead to increased customer retention and acquisition which will provide long-term revenue growth from the core business. These initiatives focus maximum impact on our most important objectives to move the business forward: the user experience and the value potential that can be unlocked for our venues," said NTN Buzztime's CEO Michael Bush.

The thing that really disappointed Bush was the terminations and churn among customers - and remember that for NTN Buzztime, the "customers" are the venues that feature the games, not the game players themselves. (We don't pay to play; the venues do.)

The Company ended the second quarter of 2010 with 4,009 subscribing venues, compared to 3,871 at June 30, 2009, an increase of 3.6%. During the second quarter of 2010, installations were down approximately 7.1% while terminations were up 63.1% compared with the second quarter of 2009. Customer churn was 7.6% for the quarter up from 4.9% in the prior year period.

So how do they get customers to keep the NTN Buzztime stuff at their bars and restaurants? Cost reductions aren't necessarily going to work, and they've already done that anyway three quarters ago.

Perhaps Steve Mitgang is working on something.