Digital Advertising

Amid a change of leadership Rubicon Project sees revenue decline as losses widen year-on-year

By Ronan Shields | Digital Editor

March 14, 2017 | 4 min read

Declines in desktop and mobile ad impressions, plus ongoing restructure charges, plus playing catch-up in the header bidding game led to a dip in Rubicon Project's fortunes, as disclosed on its latest quarterly earning call.

With a new chief at the helm, Rubicon Project reported that revenues for the final quarter came in at $72.7m in the final quarter of 2016, down from $94m 12 months earlier, coming in at an increased loss of $21.2m, this is compared to just $20.4m at the close of 2015.

Rubicon’s struggles to capitalize on advertisers’ increased desire to spend on mobile was at the core of the decline, with a 23% decline year-on-year in desktop during the quarter, as well as a downturn in its mobile revenue at the core of the downturn in its fortunes.


Rubicon announced a new CEO ahead of the latest earnings release

Although the company was at pains to point out that revenue for the full-year in 2016 was $278.2m, compared to $248.5m the year beforehand (see chart below), and that expenses related to the lay-offs it announced during its last earnings call, plus the closure of its intent marketing business, were significant factors behind its widening loss.

Rubicon Project Numbers Decline

In its guidance for the forthcoming quarter, it declined to offer guidance for the subsequent full-year, Rubicon Project forecast that non-GAAP revenue guidance would come in the region of $41-$44m.

In a statement, Rubicon Project’s former chief executive and chairman, Frank Addante acknowledged the challenges of 2016, and pointed out the company’s intentions to bolster uptake of its header bidding solution Fast Lane, as well as mobile and video technologies among the 1,300 publishers using its technologies.

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He added: “Through restructuring and divestiture during the year, we strengthened our business and refocused our energies, resources and investments on what has made Rubicon Project successful for nearly a decade: our global ad exchange business.

“As we move into 2017, we remain focused on signing up more publishers, application developers, and adding inventory to our global exchange, a key component to drive future growth.”

Rubicon Project CEO Michael Barrett

Earlier in the day, Rubicon announced that Addante will step down as CEO with ex-Millennial Media chief Michael Barrett as his replacement.

Under questioning from analysts, Addante noted that Barrat’s experience in monetizing mobile media – he helped influence the decision to hand the baton over to him, particularly as the outfit intended to enhance its credentials in the sector.

Barrett’s appointment comes as the outfit attempts to stem the flow of high-profile executive departures from the company (including its chief technology officer Neal Richter, plus influential ex-senior executives such as Jay Stevens among a host of others) as well as ongoing rumors that it is seeking a sale, and significant investors such as News Corp dropping their stock holdings in the company.

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