NEW YORK (AP) — You’d think Twitter would be able to milk its status as President Donald Trump’s megaphone. But the company still faces stagnant user growth, has never made a profit and even reported a quarterly revenue decline Wednesday, a first since going public.
Trump’s frequent tweets ricochet well beyond his 28 million Twitter followers. Anything he tweets can serve as fodder for social media, TV news shows and, often, late-night comedy. Analysts say Twitter’s user engagement — how often people respond, retweet or “like,” for instance — likely benefited from “political discourse” in the first quarter.
The problem: The people already on Twitter may well be using it more, but America’s first true “Twitter President” hasn’t inspired others to sign up for Twitter en masse. This could well be because they don’t have to. Thanks to Twitter’s public nature, anyone can read Trump’s posts (or any other posts as long as they are shared publicly, they don’t need an account to do so).
That said, Twitter’s quarterly results surpassed Wall Street’s modest expectations and, combined with an increase in both overall users daily usage, boosted the company’s beleaguered stock price.
BY THE NUMBERS
Twitter said Wednesday it had an average of 328 million monthly users during the first quarter, a 3 percent increase from 319 million during the previous quarter. By contrast, Facebook has 1.89 billion and Facebook-owned Instagram has 600 million monthly users as of December, the latest available. More users, of course, mean more advertising revenue for the companies, since businesses try to reach as many eyeballs as possible.
Twitter has never turned a profit, and for the first time since going public in 2013, it reported a decline in revenue from the previous year. Its revenue was $548.3 million, down 8 percent.
Net loss was $61.6 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with a loss of $79.7 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding stock compensation expenses and other one-time items, the company earned 11 cents per share in the latest quarter, down from 15 cents a year earlier.
Twitter beat Wall Street expectations for adjusted income of 2 cents on revenue of $517.3 million, according to FactSet. Twitter’s shares jumped $1.46, or 10 percent, to $16.13 in midday trading. The stock is still down 1 percent year-to-date, compared with a nearly 7 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
With its slogan “it’s what’s happening,” Twitter has been trying to corner the market for real-time information, to be a place where people can go to find out what’s going on in the world and talk about it with friends and strangers.
And it’s not just politics, but also sports events like the March Madness college basketball tournament or World Cup soccer, not to mention the stuff seemingly made for Twitter, such as the outrage over the dragging of a paying United passenger off a full flight to make room for crew. Video was shared widely on Twitter, as were jokes and anger toward the airline.
As with Facebook, Twitter also has been pushing live video — whether on its main service or through its Periscope app — to keep users interested and engaged. This includes both user-generated content and live-streaming deals. Sports events are especially lucrative.
That’s why the recent loss of an NFL deal to Amazon was an especially hard blow to Twitter. Twitter streamed 10 Thursday Night Football games last year and had counted on them to lure in users and keep existing ones entertained. In its quarterly letter to investors in February, the company called the games “the major highlight of the fourth quarter” when it comes to live sports.
Amazon appears to have simply outbid Twitter. The Associated Press and other news outlets reported that Amazon’s one-year deal for the 2017 season is worth close to $50 million, about five times what Twitter paid for the right to stream the games last year. Stifel analyst Scott Devitt said that while the NFL deal likely contributed about 1 percent of Twitter’s 2016 revenue, it “seemed to be an important pillar of Twitter’s Live strategy.”
And in the wake of such setbacks, competition is growing. Besides Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is also vying for advertising revenue from Snap Inc., the owner of Snapchat. Snap recently had completed its initial public offering and will report earnings in May.
One closely watched metric that did improve for Twitter — its daily active usage increased by 14 percent from a year ago. That’s compares with an 11 percent increase in the previous quarter and a 7 percent the quarter before that. Twitter didn’t report the actual usage, just the percentage growth. Still, it’s a further sign that those already on Twitter are using it more.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi paramilitary forces said Wednesday that they have captured Hatra, a 2,000-year-old historical site near the northern city of Mosul, where U.S.-backed forces have been battling the Islamic State group for months.
The media arm of the state-sanctioned force made up mainly of Shiite militias broadcast images of the site Wednesday afternoon, showing what appeared to be the ancient ruins in the distance as militia vehicles drove through open desert. It was unclear from the video if the forces had actually secured the ancient site.
Karim al-Nouri, a spokesman for the paramilitary forces, told state TV they captured the UNESCO world heritage site and were around three kilometers (two miles) from a nearby town with the same name, without providing further details.
Iraqi forces often claim to have driven IS from areas that are still far from secure, or that quickly fall back into the militants’ hands.
Hatra is believed to have been built in the second or third century B.C. by the Seleucid Empire. IS militants destroyed it along with other major historical sites in and around Mosul after seizing much of northern Iraq in the summer of 2014. The extremist group believes antiquities promote idolatry, though it is also believed to sell artifacts on the black market to fund its operations.
In April 2015, IS released a video showed the extremists smashing sledgehammers into Hatra’s walls and firing assault rifles at priceless statues. At one point, the video showed a militant on a ladder using a sledgehammer to bang repeatedly on the back of a carved face until it crashed to the ground and broke into pieces.
Hatra, located some 110 kilometers (68 miles) southwest of Mosul, flourished during the first and second centuries as a religious and trading center. It was a large, fortified city during the Parthian Empire and capital of the first Arab kingdom.
The site is said to have withstood invasions by the Romans in A.D. 116 and A.D. 198 thanks to its high, thick walls. The ancient trading center was surrounded by more than 160 towers. At its heart were a series of temples with a grand temple at the center — a structure supported by columns that once rose to 100 feet (30 meters).
IJAMSVILLE, Md. (AP) — Authorities in Maryland are trying to determine whether a couple who posted controversial videos of themselves and their five children had broken the law.
Heather Martin of Ijamsville told the Baltimore Sun (http://bsun.md/2pfrpSX) Monday that she and her husband, Mike, had “made some terrible parenting decisions.”
The couple had uploaded nearly 300 videos to their “DaddyOFive” YouTube channel. In them, the parents screamed profanities at their children, broke their toys and filmed the children fighting each other. Many videos had more than 100,000 views. The children are all under 15.
Many videos have since been deleted. The couple released a video of apology Saturday.
The Sun says the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and Baltimore County Police Department said are reviewing the videos to determine if a crime has been committed.
Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com
NORTH LIMA, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio are on the lookout for Bigfoot after a gift shop owner reported that statues of the hairy creature vanished from outside her store.
Arlene Fitzer tells WFMJ-TV (http://bit.ly/2oM21Rw ) in Youngstown that the three hand-painted, concrete statues disappeared from Farmer Dave’s Gift Shop between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.
Fitzer suspects they were stolen but says they would have been difficult to lift and to hide. She’s reviewing surveillance video for clues.
Two statues had been mounted on pedestals in front of her shop in Beaver Township, in rural northeast Ohio.
One is 3.5 feet (1.07 meters) tall. Another is 2.25 feet (0.69 meters). The third is considered the “baby” Bigfoot.
Fitzer says they range in value from $55 to $150.
Information from: WFMJ-TV, http://www.wfmj.com
NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T Inc. on Tuesday said it lost more of its most lucrative wireless customers during the first three months of the year as the country’s biggest mobile carriers try to lure customers from each other with offers of unlimited data plans.
Most people already have a cellphone, and the four major wireless carriers have launched the unlimited plans and other features in a bid to poach customers from their rivals.
AT&T acquired DirecTV in 2015 and is in the process of buying Time Warner, home to the CNN, TBS and HBO networks and a movie studio, to help it expand beyond its traditional business lines. More mergers are expected in the wireless industry, with the Trump administration thought to view them more favorably than regulators during the Obama administration.
The Dallas-based telecoms and entertainment giant unlinked its unlimited plan from a DirecTV subscription in February, a few days after Verizon announced its plan. Sprint and T-Mobile have had theirs for a while.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said Tuesday that the company’s response to the return of unlimited plans “was probably a little slow,” but that the company’s network capacity positioned it well to offer the popular plans.
AT&T said that it shed 348,000 cellphone customers who get a bill each month in the first quarter; Verizon last week reported that it lost 289,000. Verizon introduced unlimited plans during the quarter because it was alarmed at how many customers it was losing.
T-Mobile, which has been cleaning up in the past couple years, added 798,000.
AT&T reported Tuesday that the average amount it gets from such customers’ service plans also ticked lower, to $58.09 a month from $59.53 a year earlier. The company also said that customers are holding on to their phones longer, pressuring equipment sales.
AT&T did add 282,000 prepaid customers, who pay less.
It lost 233,000 video customers, however, a deeper loss than the year before. Those are DirecTV and AT&T cable customers. AT&T added 115,000 home internet customers, more than a year ago.
Overall, the Dallas company reported first-quarter earnings of $3.47 billion, or 56 cents per share, down from $3.8 billion, or 61 cents, the year before.
Stripping out merger costs, per-share profit came to 74 cents, meeting Wall Street expectations.
Revenue fell 3 percent to $39.37 billion, short of Street forecasts. Twenty analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $40.66 billion.
AT&T shares we unchanged in after-hours trading. They closed the regular trading day Tuesday down 8 cents to $39.94 and are down 6 percent in 2017. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased nearly 7 percent.
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on T at https://www.zacks.com/ap/T
Keywords: AT&T, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings
Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial of the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jewish people, as well as another 5 million non-Jewish victims. Help your students understand the importance of remembering the Holocaust with this lesson plan featuring Channel One News videos and slideshow. Please note, this lesson plan is appropriate for grades six and higher.
On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, survivor Eva Mozes Kor recalls her time at the notorious camp and the day of her liberation.
On January 27, 1945, Russian troops liberated nearly eight thousand sick and starving prisoners from Auschwitz, a group of camps where Nazis murdered more than a million people, most of them Jews. The soldiers discovered sights that would shock the world, including gas chambers designed to kill 6,000 people a day, and giant warehouses filled with the clothing, hair and teeth of dead prisoners.
On November 20, 1945 in Nuremberg, Germany, Nazi leaders responsible for Auschwitz and other camps, where 15-20 million people were imprisoned or killed, were put on trial. The question hanging over the trial: What kind of people could be capable of such evil?
At his trial, Rudolph Hoess, the Nazi officer in charge of Auschwitz, described what took place there in horrifying detail, but showed no remorse and took no responsibility for his actions. “I thought I was doing the right thing,” he said. “I was obeying orders.”
Herman Goering, Hitler’s second in command, blamed Jews for Nazi anti-Semitism but claimed not to have known about the mass murders committed in Auschwitz and other camps. “I was always a person who felt the suffering of others,” he told Jewish psychiatrist Leon Goldensohn, whose incredibly difficult job it was to monitor the mental health of the Nazi defendants at Nuremberg.
Goering was found guilty at Nuremberg and sentenced to death along with Rudolph Hoess and other Nazi leaders. But Adolf Eichmann, who sent more than 1.5 million Jews to extermination camps, escaped capture and went into hiding. In 1960, Israeli secret service agents tracked him to Argentina and sent him to Israel to stand trial.
German-Jewish writer Hannah Arendt attended Adolf Eichmann’s trial. She saw in Eichmann an “almost total inability to ever look at anything from the other fellow’s point of view” and noted that he paid more attention to the twists and turns of his political career than to the events of the war or the murder of millions.
During World War II, about 80,000 Germans participated in the murder of Jews. Were they evil or crazy — or just ordinary people who committed monstrous crimes? One thing we know is that certain behavior opens the door to violence. Nazis thought of Jews as inferior, calling them “rats” and “vermin.” When we fail to see the humanity in others, we unlock the worst in ourselves.
What excuses did each of the Nazi officers give when they were on trial? Do you think they are valid? Why or why not?
Why is it important to remember Auschwitz? Use details from the video and the Extend slideshow to support your response.
If you were on the jury, would you find Groening guilty or not guilty? Explain your response.
Read “‘Accountant of Auschwitz’ jailed for the murder of 300,000 Jews,” July 15, 2015, from The Guardian, to learn the jury’s verdict.
Imagine you have a friend who has never heard of the Holocaust. Using information from the videos and the Extend slideshow, write three paragraphs in which you tell this friend what he or she needs to know.