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Catena Media is rolling out an “aggressive programme of measures” as Q1 2024 proved to be another challenging period with revenue, EBITDA, and new depositing customers all experiencing double-digit declines.

Topline numbers

Revenue from continuing operations fell by 49% compared to the same period last year, to €16m.

Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations plummeted by 90% year-on-year to €1.9m, with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 12%.

Revenue in North America also dropped 50% year-on-year to €14.3m, accounting for 90% of the group’s revenue from continuing operations.

Meanwhile, the number of new depositing customers (NDCs) referred to operators dropped to 44,077, down 41% on Q1 2023.

Cash and cash equivalents stood at €23.4m at the end of Q1, a year-on-year decrease of 44.7%.

A quarter of underperformance

Catena Media described Q1 as a “quarter of underperformance” but said it is rolling out a series of organisational and leadership adjustments to tackle the ongoing challenges.

The affiliate said this transition is essential as it aims for organic revenue growth in H2 2024.    

Q1 2024 was marked by the departure of Michael Daly as CEO, with former VP of Corporate Strategy Pierre Cadena stepping up into the role of interim CEO.

Catena Media’s new CEO, Manuel Stan, is set to join the business on 1 July.

Interim CEO Cadena said operational outcomes during Q1 were again unsatisfactory, especially in North American sports.

He attributed this to stronger competition, reduced marketing spending by operators, and a challenging comparative period in Q1 2023.

In contrast the casino segment, which is generally less reliant on operator marketing budgets, held relatively firmer revenue.

The affiliate highlighted quarter-over-quarter growth of 12% from its North American casino products, amid ongoing brand improvement initiatives including the overhaul of its flagship online casino websites such as PlayUSA and Bonus.com.

“Aggressive” measures

According to Catena Media, an “aggressive programme of measures” is underway to restore profitability in the second half of 2024.

The company emphasised significant internal and strategic changes, including a technology overhaul, product development, operational efficiency enhancement, and a new multichannel structure for product diversification.

A new product-focused operating model aims to enhance agility and focus on high-value products, supported by “fast-response product squads” to address market dynamics promptly.

Underpinning all the ongoing initiatives is the introduction of a new technical platform, whose rollout began during the quarter and will be integrated across Catena’s global product portfolio in Q2.

“This will be the first time the group directs all of its monetisation activities through a single, coherent tech architecture.

“Built for fast scalability, the platform will significantly strengthen our operational robustness and make it easier to centrally deploy, track, and optimise our advertising content across both our core products and new products, such as AI, paid media and sub-affiliation, into which we are expanding,” Cadena said.

The business also plans to imminently expand its leadership team through the appointment of senior executives for product and commercial roles.

Current trading & outlook

Catena Media has set its sights on achieving adjusted EBITDA in the range of €20m to €30m for full-year 2024.

However, scepticism around the feasibility of this goal arose among analysts on the firm’s Q1 earnings call, in light of the company’s Q1 2024 adjusted EBITDA figure, which fell just below €2m.

Interim CEO Cadena addressed these concerns by reiterating the ongoing overhaul within the company.

This, he added, also includes a comprehensive review of the company’s core organic SEO business as well as strategic and operational changes aimed at maximising the potential of existing products.

“There’s still a revenue opportunity that we can grab by optimising our products,” he said.

The company emphasised that much of the optimism for the latter half of 2024 stems from the anticipation that the current measures will yield significant results by then.

Investors expressed their disappointment as Catena Media’s shares fell nearly 10% during the early hours of trading.

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