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Snap’s battle to retain touch and add users gets Tencent boost

来源:FT中文网    2017-11-10 07:32

        Even by the tumultuous standards of its short life as a public company, Snap has had a rollercoaster week.        Snap在其上市以来的短暂时间里股价一直波动巨大,不过即便以其自身的标准来衡量,这周的行情也犹如“过山车”一般。
        On Monday its main app, Snapchat, suffered a global service outage for several hours. Tuesday brought the third successive earnings report to miss Wall Street’s estimate since its March initial public offering, sending its stock plunging to below $13.        周一,Snap的主要应用Snapchat遭遇持续数小时的全球服务中断。周二,Snap公布的财报自今年3月首次公开发行(IPO)以来连续第三次不及华尔街预期,导致其股价下挫至13美元以下。
        Wednesday morning then brought a slight reprieve. Snap’s quarterly regulatory filing revealed that Tencent, the Chinese internet group behind WeChat, had quietly built a 12 per cent stake in the Los Angeles-based company, worth more than $2bn.        接着,周三早晨的消息让人略为松了一口气。Snap上报的季度监管文件显示,旗下拥有微信(WeChat)的中国互联网集团腾讯(Tencent)已默默将其对这家总部位于洛杉矶的公司的持股增至12%,价值超过20亿美元。
        Both the reaction to Monday’s outage and Tencent’s investment show that, despite a loss of faith on Wall Street that has sunk its shares almost 25 per cent below its $17 IPO price, there are still believers in Snap’s story.        对于周一服务中断以及腾讯入股的反应表明,尽管华尔街缺乏信心导致Snap股价较其17美元的IPO发行价下跌近25%,但仍有人对Snap买账。
        “A world without Snapchat is not a world I want to live in,” tweeted @alisdirections when the service was offline. “My Snapchat isn’t even working, might as well throw my whole phone away,” added @vpxvx.        “我不想活在一个没有Snapchat的世界。”在Snapchat服务中断期间,@alisdirections在Twitter上发帖说。“我的Snapchat都不工作了,我还不如把手机整个扔掉呢。”@vpxvx补充说。
        But even though American teenagers continue to adore Snapchat, opening the app as many as 25 times a day according to the company, much of the rest of the world remains befuddled or indifferent.        然而,尽管美国青少年还是很喜欢Snapchat(根据Snapchat的数据,他们每日打开该应用的次数多达25次),但全球其他地区仍然搞不懂这款应用或对它不感冒。
        Evan Spiegel, the Los Angeles-based company’s co-founder and chief executive, acknowledged for the first time on Tuesday that Snapchat, which added just 4.5m new daily active users in the last three months, was attracting new users at a “lower rate than we would have liked” and that the app could be “difficult to understand or hard to use” for many people.        Snap联合创始人兼首席执行官埃文•施皮格尔(Evan Spiegel)周二首次承认,Snapchat吸收新用户的速度“不理想”,很多人觉得这款应用可能“很难理解或不好用”。过去3个月,Snapchat仅新增了450万个每日活跃用户。
        He said Snap is redesigning its app to improve usability, especially for Android devices, in the hopes of broadening its appeal beyond Western millennials to older people and those in emerging markets.        他表示,Snap正重新设计其应用以提高易用性(特别是对安卓设备),希望将其吸引力扩展到西方千禧一代以外的年纪较大人群以及新兴市场中的用户。
        Mr Spiegel acknowledged the careful balancing act that he faces, in retaining the intimacy and fun that made his app so appealing to young users.        施皮格尔承认,需要谨慎把握平衡:在扩展对其他人群吸引力的同时,还要保持令年轻用户对他的应用欲罢不能的东西——私密感与趣味。
        “There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term, and we don’t yet know how the behaviour of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application,” he said.        他表示:“我们应用的重新设计很有可能会在短期内扰乱我们的业务,目前还不清楚,当人们开始使用新版应用时,我们社区的行为会发生何种变化。”
        The promise to address slowing user growth did not prevent Wall Street analysts from taking a scythe to their forecasts in the wake of Tuesday’s results. Several brokers downgraded their recommendation on the stock, after Snap added half as many new users as Wall Street had been expecting.        解决用户数量增长缓慢问题的承诺,没有阻止华尔街分析师在周二财报公布后下调他们的预测。Snap增加的新用户数量仅达华尔街预期半数的消息公布后,几家券商调低了对该股的推荐度。
        Snap’s revenues grew 126 per cent year-on-year to $208m but came in well short of analysts’ forecasts, as net losses more than tripled to $443m. Snap executives blamed the revenue shortfall on near-term disruption from the shift to automated advertising sales, which use an auction-based system that has driven down prices.        Snap营收同比增长126%,至2.08亿美元,但其表现远未达到分析师的预期——净亏损增长逾两倍,至4.43亿美元。Snap高管把营收滑坡归咎于转向自动化广告销售对业绩造成的短期干扰,这种销售策略采用基于拍卖的系统,压低了价格。
        Many analysts, however, believe that Snap is losing advertiser dollars to the much larger networks available at Facebook and Google.        然而,很多分析师认为,这是广告商转投Facebook和谷歌(Google)所致,这两家公司的网络规模要大得多。
        “We still haven’t seen an inflection in [daily user] growth despite substantial product innovation,” said RBC analyst Mark Mahaney in a note that downgraded the broker’s rating from “outperform” to “sector perform”. “Advertisers go where the eyes are and we need to see further user growth.”        “尽管进行了重大产品革新,但我们还没有看到(日用户数量)增长出现明显加速。”加拿大皇家银行(RBC)分析师马克•马哈尼(Mark Mahaney)在一份研究报告中表示,“广告商会追随关注度,我们需要看到用户数量进一步增长。”这份研究报告将该银行对Snap的评级从“跑赢大盘”下调至“与同板块持平”。
        After such a disappointing performance, the timing of Snap’s announcement of Tencent’s stake raised eyebrows among some analysts, as the company’s filing noted it was “not obligated to disclose” the investment.        Snap在公布了如此令人失望的业绩后宣布腾讯入股,这一时机选择引起一些分析师的侧目——正如Snap在监管文件中所指出的,它“没有强制性义务要披露”这笔投资。
        “We have long been inspired by the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of Tencent and we are grateful to continue our longstanding and productive relationship that began over four years ago,” Snap wrote in its filing, adding that the two companies planned to share “ideas and experiences”.        Snap在文件中写道,“长期以来,我们一直受到腾讯创造力和开拓精神的鼓舞,我们很庆幸能够继续这份开始于4年多以前的长期而富有成效的关系”,并补充称,两家公司计划分享“想法和经验”。
        Nonetheless, Brian Wieser, analyst at Pivotal Research, said Tencent’s move was unlikely to make any difference to Snap’s valuation. The company’s shares were trading 15 per cent lower on Wednesday morning, even after Tencent’s latest endorsement.        然而,Pivotal Research分析师布赖恩•威泽(Brian Wieser)表示,腾讯的举动不太可能改变Snap的估值。周三早盘,在腾讯做出最新支持姿态之后,Snap股价依然下跌15%。
        “It seems highly unlikely that Tencent would ever be in a position to buy the whole company given sensitivity around foreign influence in social media in the US and given China’s own issues with foreign investment at the present time, and it seems equally unlikely that Snap would ever be allowed to establish a foothold in China,” Mr Wieser said.        威泽表示:“鉴于外国势力对社交媒体的影响在美国是个敏感问题,中国自己目前在对外投资方面也存在一些问题,腾讯收购整个公司的可能性看上去极低,而且Snap有朝一日获准在中国立足的可能性也同样极低。”
        “That said, any time a given investor — whether a company or random billionaire — makes a big investment it can help to convey that at least someone out there believes in the long-term potential for the company,” he added.        他补充称:“尽管如此,任何时候如果某个投资者(不管是一家公司还是某个亿万富翁)做出巨额投资,它能够帮助传达这样的信息——至少还有人相信这家公司的长期潜力。”
        The show of faith was desperately needed after Snap executives staged what analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research called “a reversal on almost every key strategic point from the last few years in one earnings call”.        在Snap的高管谋求改变——用Jackdaw Research分析师简•道森(Jan Dawson)的话来说就是“用一个财报电话会议的功夫就把过去几年几乎所有关键性的战略要点都逆转了”——后,这种展示信心的举动正是Snap迫切需要的。
        The shift included Snap’s new-found ambition to reach older users and markets with less developed wireless networks, rather than focusing on its core demographic of under-30s in places with high-speed mobile coverage. Even disclosing that a Snapchat redesign was under way was an unprecedented step for a company that has rivalled Apple in its efforts to maintain the secrecy of its product plans.        此次转变包括Snap的如下新抱负:试图触及年龄更大的用户和无线网络欠发达市场,而不是把重点放在高速移动网络覆盖地区30岁以下的核心用户群体。对于产品计划保密工作一向做得跟苹果(Apple)一样滴水不漏的Snap来说,即便是对外透露正在重新设计Snapchat这件事,也是前所未有的举动。
        “The mythos of Snapchat for a long time was Evan Spiegel, the product genius,” Mr Dawson said. “His gut doesn’t seem to be serving the company very well.”        “长久以来Snapchat的神话一直是产品天才埃文•施皮格尔,”道森表示,“眼下他的直觉似乎不那么有助于本公司的发展了。”
        In defence of doing product development by “thesis” rather than basing decisions on hard data, Mr Spiegel on Tuesday pointed to the fact that Snapchat’s much-copied Stories format had “basically no one using it for the first six months or so”.        施皮格尔主张基于“观点”来开发产品、而非根据确凿数据来决策,周二,他援引如下事实为上述观点辩护:Snapchat如今被广泛抄袭的Stories设计,“在最初6个月左右基本上没人使用”。
        Yet Tuesday’s results also provided Snap sceptics with a costly example of how the company’s decision-making can go awry. It took at $40m hit from unsold inventory of its video-camera sunglasses, Spectacles.        不过,周二的财报还给了对Snap持怀疑态度的人一个昂贵的例子,表明该公司的决策会如何出岔子。该公司配有摄像机的太阳眼镜Spectacles的未售库存导致其减记4000万美元。
        The write-off is roughly double Spectacles’ $20m in sales for its first three quarters on the market, Mr Dawson noted. “I suspect that was a hubris-based decision rather than a data-based decision,” he said.        道森指出,这笔减记几乎是Spectacles面世头3个季度销售额(2000万美元)的两倍。他表示,“我猜这是因为自大做出的决定,而不是根据数据做出的决定。”
        On Tuesday’s call with analysts, Mr Spiegel insisted that upheaval was nothing new at his young company. “There has been a ton of change in a very short period of time,” he said. “That’s been the case over the life of the business in the last six years . . . I guess we are just not afraid to make changes in the long term interest of the business.”        施皮格尔周二在与分析师的电话会议上坚称,对于还很年轻的Snap而言,剧变不足为奇。“在非常短的时间内出现了无数改变。”他表示,“这是这家企业在过去6年里习以为常的事……我想我们就是无惧于为了公司长远利益而做出改变。”

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