WOW! Unlimited Media Announces Financial Results For the First Quarter of 2021

COMPANY REPORTS ITS HIGHEST QUARTERLY NET INCOME TO DATE

Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA


VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- WOW! Unlimited Media Inc. (“WOW!” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: WOW; OTCQX: WOWMF) announced today its results for the three months ended March 31, 2021.

Michael Hirsh, Chairman & CEO, commented: “Our strong first quarter performance and year over year growth marks another milestone in WOW!’s path to building a global animation driven entertainment company. As we look forward to a gradual return to more normal way of life, our teams across both the animation and networks divisions are focused on executing a robust 2021, working closely with our clients and partners across the world.”  

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Company completed the first quarter of 2021 with operating EBITDA of $1.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021, as compared to $0.1 million for the same period in 2020.
  • For the first quarter of 2021, the Company reported net income of $1.3 million, its highest ever, as compared to a net loss of $1.5 million for the same period in 2020.
  • Both reporting segments, Animation Production and Networks & Platforms, reported positive EBITDA for the first quarter of 2021.
  • As at March 31, 2021, the Company’s production backlog was $77.0 million. The Company’s backlog at March 31, 2021, did not include additional contracts signed subsequent to quarter-end which represented $8.5 million in additional animation work to be completed over the next 24 months.
  • The fourth and final season of Castlevania completed delivery in Q2 2021 and premiered on Netflix on May 13, 2021, and is currently one of the top 10 most watched series globally on the streaming platform.
  • Mainframe Studios announced its plans to produce a new 2d-animated series entitled The Guava Juice Show in partnership with Studio71 and YouTube sensation Roi Fabito. The show will build on the appeal of Roi’s blockbuster (16.5 million subscriber) Guava Juice channel on YouTube. Production of the new series will commence in Q2 2021.
  • Additional production includes a number of new and exciting Barbie projects for its longstanding customer Mattel, Seasons 5 through 8 of the series Octonauts for Silvergate, Bee & PupptCat: Lazy in Space for Netflix, a new, internally developed, animated series which is being produced in partnership with a leading US based studio, and a significant new project in partnership with Spin Master, a global Canadian toy and entertainment company.
  • On February 5, 2021, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced, in a broadcasting decision, that it had approved the Company’s application to revoke its Broadcast License. The revocation of the Broadcasting License nullifies the Company’s obligation to invest $0.6 million of tangible benefits into the Canadian broadcasting industry. In the first quarter of 2021, the Company recognized a recovery associated with the reversal of the tangible benefits obligation into the consolidated statement of comprehensive income or loss.
  • On February 6, 2021, the Company was granted forgiveness of its Paycheck Protection Program loan by the US Small Business Administration and recognized the loan forgiveness of $0.7 million CAD ($0.6 million USD) into the consolidated statement of comprehensive income or loss in the first quarter of 2021.
  • On April 29, 2021, the Company announced that the Board of Directors, working closely with Management, has commenced a process to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives focused on maximizing shareholder value. These alternatives could include, among other things, an acquisition, a merger or other business combination, a financing, a sale of assets, a sale of the Company, or other strategic transactions that may be available to the Company.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Revenue for the quarter was $15.0 million
  • Operating EBITDA for was $1.9 million.

OVERVIEW OF RESULTS

 For the three months ended
$000's, except per share amountsMarch 31,
2021
March 31,
2020
 
Revenue$ 14,955 $ 13,695  
Operating EBITDA1 1,868 111 
Operating profit (loss)1 803 (1,387)
Operating profit (loss) per share  
- basic$0.03$(0.04)
- diluted$0.02$(0.04)
   
Net income (loss)$ 1,332 $ (1,467)
Earnings (loss) per share  
- basic$0.04$(0.05)
- diluted$0.04$(0.05)
Weighted average number of shares outstanding:  
- basic 32,024,314 32,024,314 
- diluted 40,603,860 32,024,314 
   
1 Operating EBITDA and operating profit (loss) include amortization of investment in film and television programming. Refer to discussion under Consolidated Results for a reconciliation of Operating EBITDA and Operating profit (loss) to Net income (loss).
  • Revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2021, was $15.0 million. This included $6.3 million generated by the Networks and Platforms segment and $8.7 million for the Animation Production segment for the three months ended March 31, 2021, bolstered by the continued production of Madagascar: A Little Wild, Octonauts, seasons 5 through 8, a significant new project in partnership with Spin Master, various projects for our long-standing customer Mattel, and the delivery of episodes of season 4 of Castlevania.  
  • Operating EBITDA was $1.9 million, and the net income was $1.3 million, for the three months ended March 31, 2021.  

CONSOLIDATED RESULTS

 For the three months ended
$000'sMarch 31,
2021
 March 31,
2020
 
Revenue$ 14,955  $ 13,695  
Amortization of investment in film and television programming$ 1,635  $ 564  
   
Operating EBITDA$ 1,868  $ 111  
Finance costs 399  564 
Depreciation and amortization1 666  934 
Operating profit (loss) 803  (1,387)
Items affecting comparability:  
Share-based compensation expense 56  155 
Forgiveness of CRTC tangible benefits obligation (585)  
Deferred income tax expense (recovery)   (75)
  (529) 80 
Net income (loss) $ 1,332  $ (1,467)
1 Excludes amortization of investment in film and television programming  
   

Revenue and Operating EBITDA

Revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2021, increased by $1.3 million compared to the same period in 2020. For the three months ended March 31, 2021, revenues for the Networks and Platforms segment increased by $0.3 million and revenues for the Animation Production segment increased by $1.0 million in comparison to the same period in 2020. The increase in revenue for the Networks and Platforms segment for the three months ended March 31, 2021, was primarily the result of an increase in advertising revenue generated on YouTube in comparison to the prior year.

The growth in revenue for the Animation Production segment for the three months ended March 31, 2021, was driven by the delivery of IP during the period.

Operating EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2021, increased by $1.8 million compared to the same period in 2020. The higher operating EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2021, was driven by increased revenue and margins in the Animation Production segment in addition to the recognition of the Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness.

CONFERENCE CALL

The Company will host a conference call at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, May 28, 2021 to discuss the Company’s financial results.

The conference call can be accessed live by dialling 1 (877) 825-9920 five minutes prior to the scheduled start time. The Conference ID is 3398061.

NON-IFRS FINANCIAL MEASURES

In addition to results reported in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”), this news release includes financial terms that the Company utilizes to assess the financial performance of its business that are not measures recognized under IFRS. These non-IFRS financial measures include operating profit or loss, operating profit or loss per share, operating EBITDA, and backlog. The Company believes these supplemental financial measures reflect the Company's on-going business in a manner that allows for meaningful period-to-period comparisons and analysis of trends in its business. These non-IFRS measures have been consistently calculated in all periods presented.

The Company defines operating profit or loss as net income or loss excluding the impact of specified items affecting comparability, including, where applicable, share of gain or loss of equity accounted investees, impairment of other intangible assets and goodwill, other non-operational income and expenses, deferred taxes and other gains or losses. The use of the term "non-operational income and expenses" is defined by the Company as those that do not impact operating decisions taken by the Company's management and is based upon the way the Company's management evaluates the performance of the Company's business for use in the Company's internal management reports. Operating profit or loss per share is calculated using diluted weighted average shares outstanding and does not represent actual profit or loss per share attributable to shareholders. The Company believes that the disclosure of operating profit or loss and operating profit or loss per share allows investors to evaluate the operational and financial performance of the Company's ongoing business using the same evaluation measures that management uses, and is therefore a useful indicator of the Company's performance or expected performance of recurring operations.

The Company defines operating EBITDA as profit or loss net of amortization of investment in film and television programming, but before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, adjusted for certain items affecting comparability as specified in the calculation of operating profit or loss. Operating EBITDA is presented on a basis consistent with the Company's internal management reports. The Company discloses operating EBITDA to capture the profitability of its business before the impact of items not considered in management's evaluation of operating performance. Unless otherwise stated, the Company includes the amortization of investment in film and television programming in the calculation of operating EBITDA.

The Company defines backlog as the undiscounted value of signed agreements for production services and intellectual property in relation to licensing and distribution agreements for work that has not yet been performed, but for which the Company expects to recognize revenue in future periods. Backlog excludes estimates of variable consideration for transactions involving sales or usage-based royalties in exchange for licences of intellectual property. The extent of eventual revenue recognized in future periods may be materially higher or lower than this amount, depending upon factors which include, but are not limited to the following: (i) contract modifications, (ii) fluctuations in foreign exchange rates for contracts not denominated in Canadian dollars, (iii) changes to production and delivery schedules, or (iv) valuation issues in connection with the collectability of fees.

Operating profit or loss, operating profit or loss per share, operating EBITDA, and backlog do not have any standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and therefore may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. The Company cautions readers to consider these non-IFRS financial measures in addition to, and not as an alternative for, measures calculated in accordance with IFRS.

For additional information regarding the Company's use of non-IFRS measures, including the calculation of these measures and a reconciliation of operating EBITDA and operating profit (loss) to net income (loss), please refer to the “Reconciliations” section of the Company's management's discussion and analysis for the year ended December 31, 2020, available on the Company's website at www.wowunlimited.co and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Forward-looking Statements

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements and forward-looking information (collectively referred to herein as "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. All statements other than statements of present or historical fact are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are often, but not always, identified by the use of words such as "anticipate", "achieve", "could", "believe", "plan", "intend", "objective", "continuous", "ongoing", "estimate", "outlook", "expect", "may", "will", "project", "should" or similar words, including negatives thereof, suggesting future outcomes.

In particular, this news release contains forward-looking statements relating to, among other things: (i) general economic conditions; (ii) future revenues to be received by WOW!; (iii) WOW!’s future business prospects and opportunities; (iv) WOW!’s ability to complete any or all of its proposed production work; (v) the impact of overhead and cost savings initiatives at the Company’s Frederator operations; (vi) Mainframe’s plans to adapt its work from home model; and (vii) deliveries of Mainframe Studios’ production on a new animated series.

Management of the Company believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable as of the date hereof but no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such forward-looking statements should not be unduly relied upon. Various material factors and assumptions are typically applied in drawing conclusions or making the forecasts or projections set out in forward-looking statements. Specific material factors and assumptions include, but are not limited to: (i) the performance of WOW!'s business, including current business and economic trends; (ii) capital expenditure programs and other expenditures by WOW! and its customers; (iii) dependence on key personnel and the ability of WOW! to retain and hire qualified personnel; (iv) the ability of WOW! to market its content successfully to existing and new customers; (v) the ability of WOW! to retain customers; (vi) the ability of WOW! to obtain timely financing on acceptable terms; (vii) a stable competitive environment; (viii) WOW!’s ability to anticipate and adapt to changes in technology and product consumption patterns; (ix) a stable industry regulatory environment; (x) ongoing relationships with WOW!’s distributors and business partners; and (xi) competitive forces within the entertainment industry. Those material factors and assumptions are based on information currently available to the Company, including data from publicly available governmental sources as well as from market research and industry analysis and on assumptions based on data and knowledge of this industry which the Corporation believes to be reasonable. However, although generally indicative of relative market positions, market shares and performance characteristics, such data is inherently imprecise.

Forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of future performance and are subject to and involve a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of the Company, which may cause the Company's actual performance and results to differ materially from any projections of future performance or results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the risks identified in the Company's Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2020, which has been filed with the Canadian Securities Administrators and is available on www.sedar.com. Any forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof and, except as required by law, the Company assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise such statements to reflect new information, subsequent or otherwise.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

About WOW!
WOW! is creating a leading animation-focused entertainment company by producing top-end content and building brands and audiences on the most engaging media platforms. The Company produces animation in its two established studios: Frederator Studios in the USA, which has a 20-year track record; and one of Canada’s largest, multi-faceted animation production studios, Mainframe Studios, which has a 25-year track record. The Company also operates Channel Frederator Network on YouTube. The common voting shares of the Company and variable voting shares of the Company are listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V: WOW) and the OTCQX Best Market (OTCQX: WOWMF).

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Further information available at:
Website: www.wowunlimited.co

 

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