Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) reported better-than-expected revenue and earnings for the second quarter of 2019 on Thursday but the company’s outlook disappointed Wall Street. The management held a conference call shortly after the earnings release. Here are some of the highlights:
During the first half of 2019, Activision prioritized investments in its key franchises – Call of Duty, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Diablo and Candy Crush. The company expects to expand reach and deepen engagement through these efforts.
Activision believes new launches are a critical part of the future of Call of Duty as they are huge engagement drivers. The company, which leads in esports, plans to broaden the audience of Call of Duty further through the launch of Call of Duty Global League.
The development teams are working on innovative content across console, PC and mobile for both in-game content and new releases. The company believes that these ongoing efforts will help drive future growth. Activision is seeing encouraging results in several key franchises including Call of Duty, Hearthstone and World of Warcraft.
Reach and engagement
During the quarter, the Activision division had 37 million monthly active users (MAU). Reach decreased year-over-year due to the exclusion of Destiny users and a drop in Call of Duty catalog. Black Ops 4 saw a growth in MAU, and engagement levels were high across the Black Ops environment with a year-over-year growth of 50% in hours played.
Blizzard saw a sequential increase in MAU to 32 million helped by an increase in Hearthstone MAU. Although King saw an overall year-over-year decline in MAU, the number of users grew in Candy Crush. The company is investing significantly in Candy Crush to drive up reach and engagement.
Activision is seeing strong momentum in advertising right now and the company believes there is substantial opportunity for ongoing growth. Ad net bookings doubled year-on-year in the second quarter and the company is on track to exceed $100 million in net bookings this year.