Tencent Music Tops Revenue Estimate But Monthly User Growth Slows in Q1

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Traders work on the floor on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as the Chinese music-streaming service Tencent Music launches its IPO on Dec. 12, 2018 in New York City. 

Tencent Music Entertainment narrowly beat Wall Street estimates with its first-quarter results, reporting revenue of ¥5.74 billion Chinese yuan ($855 million), roughly 40 percent higher than the ¥4.12 billion earned in the earlier-year period. Despite topping expectations -- investors predicted revenue of $850 million for the quarter -- shares of TME have plummeted over 8 percent in Tuesday morning trading.

Of the total revenue tally, $239 million came from Tencent's online music services, driven by subscriptions, sub-licensing and album sales. Paid music services revenue bought in $106 million of that chunk. TME's music assets include QQ Music, Kugou Music, and Kuwo Music.

All told, TME's music library includes over 35 million tracks from domestic and international music labels.

The company recorded a net operating profit of $171 million, up about 23 percent year-over-year. Content and licensing fees, as well as revenue sharing, drove the cost of revenues for Q1 by 52.2 percent to $552 million. Gross profit or the quarter increased by 20.8 percent to $303 million. Total operating expenses reached $155 million, a 28.3 percent bump compared to a year ago.

TME only managed a 4.6 percent increase in mobile monthly active users for its online music services year over year, from 625 million to 654 million. Paid users of the music apps were up 27.4 percent, to 28.4 million -- an increase of 1.4 million from Q4 2018. Adding to the concern, those MAUs for the music services are spending less, with average revenue per user dipping 1.2 percent to $1.21/user, compared to the same period a year earlier. ARPU for Tencent's social apps, such as WeSing, enjoyed a 28.1 percent increase to roughly $18.54 per user.

As of March 31, the company had combined cash and cash equivalents of $2.70 billion.

"As our users increasingly consume music content through streaming services, we are riding on this trend to gradually transition into a pay-for-streaming model over the coming years," said Cussion Pang, CEO of Tencent Music. "We also strengthened our market leadership in music-centric social entertainment by focusing on product innovation and enhancing user experience through data analytics. We remain committed to investing in the provision of premium content as well as innovative product features."

On Wall Street, shares of Tencent Music (TME) were down more than 8 percent in morning trading, with the price dipping below $15. That's down from $16.37 per share a week ago.