Sleeker Brave Bison moving closer to profitability

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Digital media and social video broadcaster Brave Bison Group PLC (LON:BBSN) is slashing its losses as margins rise and the cost-cutting strategy kicks in.

Net revenue in the first half of 2017 shrank to £6.00mln from £9.69mln the year before but the gross profit margin shot up to 48% from 39% the previous year, reflecting the company’s increased focus on high margin business.

Advertising remained by far the most significant revenue stream, accounting for 86% of net revenue, up from 75% in the same period of 2016.

The loss before tax narrowed to £2.17mln from £3.57mln the year before, and while underlying earnings (EBITDA) also remained negative, the loss of £458,000 was a significant improvement on the previous year’s loss of £1.87mln, and included restructuring costs of £538,000 (2016: £936k).

The group ended June with cash of £5.3mln.

On the cost-cutting side of things, Brave Bison closed several smaller offices in the period and is now based predominantly in London and Singapore, while it also slashed its staff numbers.

What it does

Brave Bison is a digital media specialist that helps brands, content creators and publishers build and engage audiences through the use of media.

It has three divisions: Brave Studio; Brave Brand; and Brave Talent.

Brave Studio is the company’s in-house studio that creates original content solutions to help “redefine how people feel about brands”.

Brave Brand has created social media campaigns for a range of companies including Coca Cola and Turkish Airlines.

Brave Talent is a management agency that represents “some of the biggest social influencers in the world”, and matches brands with personalities to generate the most amount of traction.

Among those on its books is Jérôme Jarre, of YouTube fame.

Rebranding: farewell Rightster; welcome Brave Bison

Those investors who have been long-time followers of Brave Bison might remember it as Rightster.

It rebranded as Brave Bison in May of last year as it set about realigning its business, explaining at the time that the name change would challenge the way the company is thought of by brands and commercial partners.

Yellowstone Studios

Brave Bison has a state-of-the-art broadcasting facility, Yellowstone Studios, located – where else? – in the ultra-trendy Hoxton district of  London.

The facility will be the home of Brave Bison’s multi-platform football network, Slash Football.

It is equipped with a green screen compatible studio and, importantly for the football side of things, comes complete with a football pitch.

The popular YouTube football show ‘The Last 5’ is one popular recording made at the studios.

“Opening the studio marks a significant step change in Brave Bison’s development,” said chief creative officer Will Pyne.

“It gives us a competitive edge over other video content producers, providing us with a creative and cultural hub to take our own programming to new levels of scale, quality and frequency. Just as importantly, we now have a space for brands and creators to test and explore ideas at the drop of a hat.”

Flirted with merger with Zinc Media

In May 2017, the company flirted with the idea of a merger with Zinc Media, but in the end both companies decided to remain independent.

At the time of the mooted merger, Brave Bison was without a chief executive, as former boss Ashley MacKenzie had resigned in January following a disagreement with the board over the future strategy of the company.

News that the merger talks were off were accompanied by the unveiling of Claire Hungate as the new chief executive. The former managing director of Warner Bros Television UK moved into the hot seat at the beginning of April and within a fortnight had lured former Warner Bros colleague Paul Campbell-White over to be the new chief financial officer.

The share price

The first three months of 2017 were undoubtedly tough for the company. It lost its chief executive and various other members of its senior management, and the share price slumped from 3.1p at the beginning of the year to 1.158p at the end of March.

Since then, things have stabilised and the new management team has a sound base on which to continue the improving trend seen in recent results.

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