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Affiliate Announcements

Acroud publishes interim report Jan-Mar 2021: Strong quarter characterised by growth and acquisitions

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First Quarter 2021

  • Revenue amounted to EUR 5,579 (3,191) thousand, corresponding to a growth of 75% (-21%) and an organic growth of -10% (-22%).
  • EBITDA amounted to EUR 1,441 (1,742) thousand. Adjusted EBITDA (before items affecting comparability related to acquisitions and new share issues) was EUR 1,575 (1,742) thousand.
  • Profit after tax was EUR 748 (2,759) thousand. Adjusted profit after tax (before items affecting comparability and currency effects) was EUR 553 (1,440) thousand.
  • Earnings per share after dilution amounted to EUR 0.006 (0.036). Adjusted earnings per share (before items affecting comparability and currency effects) was EUR 0.005 (0.019).
  • New Depositing Customers (NDC) amounted to 31,787 (9,622) increasing by 230% (-16%).
  • Cash flow from operating activities excluding one-off tax payment relating to acquisitions amounted to EUR 388 (1,625) thousand.

Significant events during the quarter

  • In January, Acroud acquired the assets in Power Media Group (PMG), which includes Voonix, Matching Visions and Traffic Grid. PMG consists of three fast-growing companies which are mainly active in the European market with the affiliate network Matching Visions and marketing campaign broker Traffic Grid, but also includes an industry-leading SaaS service provider with Voonix. In 2020 PMG generated revenues amounting to EUR 9.6million and an EBITDA amounting to EUR 0.9million. PMG pursues a different business model with high entry-barriers and have diversified revenue streams where Matching Visions acts as a “hub” in the Affiliation industry where several thousand smaller affiliate sites are connected with operators. Matching Visions operates with a margin of around 10-15% and is, with its network, a vital part in the media ecosystem which Acroud has created.
  • In January, the Company obtained a license to operate in Pennsylvania, which is already a regulated State. At the same time, Michigan, where Acroud already has a license, was regulated, which means that Acroud can run Sports Betting, Casino and Poker affiliate operations in both states.
  • In February 2021, a new organizational structure was introduced, with two operational segments: the iGaming Affiliation segment and the… As a Service segment (SaaS and BaaS solutions). In the iGaming Affiliation segment, news and comparison sites are operated. In the… As a Service segment, we offer software and service solutions in the media and affiliation industry, so-called Software as a Service (SaaS) and Business as a Service (BaaS) offerings. In connection with the introduction of the new organization, a new and strengthened management team was formed consisting of seven people.
  • In February, Acroud gave an update on US Strategy. Acroud will continue on the track with focus on the US market evaluating different growth initiatives to find the right balance between organic growth, partnerships with Media Houses and executing possible strategic acquisitions. As part of the evaluation Acroud decided to withdraw from the process of a potential acquisition where a Letter of Intent (“LOI”) was announced on 3 November 2020. The rationale behind the withdrawal was a combination of higher transaction risk than anticipated and increased momentum of our current assets.
  • In February, the Company signed another letter of intent for the acquisition of TheGamblingCabin (TGC), which is a fast-growing company that offers both a software-based “gaming tips” service and highly popular streaming channels within Sports Betting, Poker and Horse Racing. TGC has a clear strategic fit with Acroud, whereby we strengthen our software offering (SaaS), while adding some of the most popular media channels, YouTube and Twitch, to our offering. The acquisition was finalized in April 2021.
  • In March, an Extraordinary General Meeting was held which decided on an employee stock option program. The employee share option program covers key personnel and will run for three years until March 2024. The Extraordinary General Meeting was held on 1 March 2021.

Significant events after the quarter

  • After the end of the period, TGC was acquired for a purchase price of approximately SEK 47 million, on a cash and debt-free basis. The purchase price was paid in cash and with newly issued shares in Acroud. The transaction was based on Acroud’s signed letter of intent published in a press release on 17 February 2021. TGC generated annual sales of approximately EUR 1.4 million, based on the 9-month period Q320– Q121, with an EBITDA margin of approximately 65 percent resulting in annual EBITDA of approximately EUR 0.9 million.
  • In April, Jonas Strömberg from Erik Selin Aktiehandel AB and Maria Grimaldi Andersson were proposed to be elected as new board members of Acroud during the Annual General Meeting on 20 May 2021. At the same time, Fredrik Rüden and Jonas Bertilsson renounced re-election.

VD-comment: The Ride continues!

It has been a very eventful quarter during which we have executed the communicated strategy with increased focus on growth, which is seen in increasing NDCs (New Depositing Customers) development. This is one of the most important key figures and the development has been very strong, to a large extent as a result of acquisitions made and the synergies they entail. We have developed Acroud from being a traditional “comparison site” affiliate company to owning a strong “ecosystem” in the media and affiliation industry. We are taking big steps forward in high speed through an innovative and forward-leaning approach. We connect People, Content Creators (Bloggers, Youtubers, Affiliates, etc.) and activities within the ecosystem.

In short time we have developed Acroud from primarily operating traditional comparison and news sites within iGaming to also run land-based live events, SaaS solutions, BaaS solutions and high-quality media content such as Streaming, Twitch and Youtube. All of these mentioned components or “circles” meet in Acroud and it is so “where the magic happens” in the media ecosystem.

A strong and progressive quarter

When I took over as CEO I expected that it would take around 12 months before we would harvest the initial fruits of the extensive change management work. Therefore it is extra gratifying to see the results for the first quarter confirming this:

  • NDC development is strong and increasing sequentially in both the iGaming Affiliation and As a Service segments, to 31,787 NDCs, largely driven by acquisitions, compared to 11,262 NDCs during the fourth quarter of 2020
  • REVENUES increase sequentially by 123% to EUR 5,579, where revenues from the iGaming Affiliation segment also show growth of 13%
  • ADJUSTED EBITDA increasing 54% quarter on quarter reaching 1,575 kEUR compared to 1,023 kEUR previous quarter

Through the change management work, the original iGaming Affiliation segment now shows growth sequentially, excluding acquisitions. Our comparative figures compared to the first quarter last year have been affected by the adjustment made in the Dutch market in July last year, which mainly explains the negative organic growth in iGaming Affiliation on an annual basis. According to Dutch authorities, the market is expected to reopen in October 2021.

What is “The Media House of the Future”?

For Acroud, it is a mantra and means a lot. First of all, it’s an attitude. “Future” means being pro-active, adaptable and to be in the forefront. “Media house” means that we build an ecosystem consisting of several different components that together complement each other with clear synergies. As an example, during March 2021 we generated +1,000 NDCs through streaming, which has not been generated in previous quarters in the business. By getting the various components to work together, we create diversification, high-qualitative content and high entry barriers. Step by step, we are moving from being a pure player with traditional comparison sites to a product mix comprising more complex solutions with high entry barriers and high-quality content.

Through the acquisition of Power Media Group, Acroud took a big leap into the SaaS industry and has now also become a SaaS company (Software as a Service). In line with our vision to create a better way for “Content Creators” to monetize from their work, we now offer two different software solutions. 1) Voonix, which is an industry-leading data collection tool in the affiliation industry, and 2) Affhut, which simplifies for users to build and create their own networks of “Content Creators”.

The acquisition of TheGamblingCabin (TGC) in April was another important milestone on the road to create the “Media House of the Future”. TGC is a fast-growing player in streaming and software solutions for the media and affiliation industry. TGCs’ “reduction tool” is an industry-leading software and the company’s digital presence is impressive and can be launched internationally. This and the other acquisitions we have made recently transform and strengthen Acroud at the same time as we position ourselves as a SaaS supplier on the strategic map.

Acroud´s three growth pillars

Following the acquisitions, a new company have been formed which consists of two operational segments: iGaming Affiliation (news and comparison websites) and …As a Service (SaaS- and BaaS solutions). Our expansion strategy for the two segments is based on 3 growth pillars which are iGaming Affiliation, BaaS and SaaS solutions. The iGaming Affiliation is our underlying affiliate business containing the traditional verticals; Poker, Sports Betting and Casino. Acroud delivers high quality content and uses search engine optimisation to rank high in keywords and thereby drive traffic in the media industry. The second pillar, “Software as a Service” (SaaS) solutions, has been described above, while the third pillar “Business as a Service” (BaaS) is a service offering that primarily includes Matching Visions. Matching Visions provides “Content Creators” (Bloggers, Youtubers, Affiliates, etc.) access to a large client base, unique software, tools and business terms, which would otherwise be out of their reach. Thousands of smaller iGaming affiliate sites around the world come together, via Matching Visions, to provide traffic and new players to online gaming operators.

Focus on “Operational Excellence”

After the integration of the acquired businesses, the focus is on ‘Operational Excellence’ and on developing the new Acroud together with our new team. In February a new management team was formed with experienced leaders from the industry who see the synergies within our group and have a way of working which is fast, entrepreneurial and professional. We are constantly improving and building a strong organization adapted to growth.

In addition, after two years of work, all sites have now migrated to one and the same platform, which means efficient and scalable roll-out of sites. Preparations for the opening and regulation of the German and Dutch markets this year are in full swing and the last pieces of the puzzle will fall into place during the second quarter so that we are ready to capitalize on our iGaming assets.

Our way to create shareholder value

I always aim to engage the best talent, make best use of resources and find our own unique position in the value chain within the industry. This in turn will maximize shareholder value. This is exactly what we are doing with Acroud moving on the strategic map and creating a unique media company with powerful SaaS solutions, unique focus on Poker and high-quality content including a large network of streamers. We like to see opportunities where others have not yet understood the full potential.

At the same time as others rush to the US, we continue our focus on organic growth step by step where our US assets are showing momentum. We focus on the areas where we have “low-hanging fruit” to pick to create value for shareholders.

In addition, we continue to create unique content and unique revenue streams by “owning poker again” via TheGamblingCabin and The Festival Series which is a land-based and competitive Sports Betting, Casino and Poker event at several different destinations in Europe. We are also expanding the streaming networks within Matching Visions as well as broadening our SaaS solutions through Voonix expansion. Pictures, mobile media and film are becoming important in our daily lives and also for search engine optimization, which is the foundation for building awareness regarding Acroud websites and brands. Thus, “User Generated Content” norm today – let’s do it through a strong offering in social media.

We will continue to pursue an opportunistic acquisition strategy where we evaluate new potential acquisitions, primarily focusing on SaaS solutions and Sports Betting, but we will not be as aggressive as the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021. Priority will be on organic growth in our base portfolio, integration of completed acquisitions, while we will step by step reduce net indebtedness over time.

In summary, the pieces of the Acroud puzzle are starting to fall into place to build “The Media House of the Future” and we are prepared for solid growth. You can expect that we will continue to keep a high pace, invest smart and create value for shareholders.

Affiliate Announcements

WA.Technology Launches WA.Affiliates

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WA.Technology Launches WA.Affiliates

 

WA.Technology, an award-winning B2B iGaming solutions provider, announces the launch of WA.Affiliates, a next-gen iGaming affiliate management platform. WA.Affiliates empowers operators to manage and optimise their affiliate programs for enhanced profitability, broader market reach, and streamlined, successful operations. 

WA.Affiliates combines an intuitive user interface with a clean, functional design, facilitating simple affiliate performance management. The platform solution is built on real-time optimisation and informed analytics so operators can expand their reach, increase traffic, and boost revenue with maximum efficiency.

Key features include personalised and customisable agreements for each affiliate, integrated user tracking for intelligent insights, and an optimised iGaming-oriented back-office. WA.Affiliates’ support includes zero setup fees alongside free panel transitions and integrated wallets for transaction security and straightforward migration.

Operators can reap the benefits of effortless management thanks to WA.Affiliates’ user-friendly dashboard configuration. Around-the-clock support offers real-time assistance and uncomplicated navigation, giving operators the upper hand in the global marketplace. Hourly insights, detailed reports, and in-depth analysis perfect data-driven decisions for improved acquisition and retention strategies. WA.Affiliates also motivates affiliates via its engaging gamification system, and intelligent user-tracking provides accurate information on campaign performance.

Tim Scoffham, CEO of WA.Technology, shared his enthusiasm for the launch, saying, “With WA.Affiliates, we’re forging a new path in the iGaming industry, creating a platform that not only meets but anticipates the needs of our partners. Our focus on innovation and customised solutions makes WA.Affiliates a key player in driving growth and profitability. We’re simplifying affiliate management to deliver tangible results, demonstrating our commitment to leading the way in digital excellence. At WA.Technology, we’re not just following the path to excellence – we’re creating it.”

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Affiliate Announcements

CasinoBeats Summit Set to Offer a Laser Focus on Marketing and Affiliate Strategies

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CasinoBeats Summit Set to Offer a Laser Focus on Marketing and Affiliate Strategies

 

Amidst the whirlwind of Google’s relentless updates and the intricate web of affiliate marketing, the upcoming CasinoBeats Summit, with a laser focus on SEO, AI content, and innovative traffic monetisation strategies, will offer marketers and affiliates a platform to tackle pressing inquiries head-on.

The ‘Marketing & Affiliation’ track will occur across both core days of the CasinoBeats Summit, 22nd – 23rd May, at the InterContinental Malta. The track will provide 4500 attendees with an in-depth exploration of key talking points shaping the worlds of marketing and affiliation.

Discussions will encompass leveraging innovative technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and immersive video content to engage new audiences, the power of alternative marketing channels, and gaining a competitive edge through SEO strategies.

The panel titled ‘Finding CRM harmony: Automation vs Experience’ will delve into the growing influence of customer relationship management (CRM) and the most effective strategies for its utilisation. Industry experts Matthias S. Kaiser (Head of CRM at Tipico), Alexandru Ababei (CRM Global Promotions Manager, Betsson) and Zurab Magalashvili (CMO, Adjarabet), will explore how CRM implementation can align with existing processes for player experiences and how CRM data can aid in proactive responsible gambling initiatives.

The conference session ‘Future-Proofing Marketing: Unveiling Trends Beyond the Hype’ will discuss the latest marketing trends and assess their long-term potential. Marketing experts Calvin Samut (Head of Brand, Socios), Cecilia López Boronat (Marketing Content Manager, Clobet Limited) and panel moderator Dennis Algreen (Marketing Director, SBC Events), will explore the longevity of these emerging trends, the danger of chasing trends and whether businesses should prioritise long-term brand stability over fleeting marketing fads.

The conference on the second day will commence with the panel ‘Monetizing Traffic Beyond Traditional Models’ focusing on the significance of alternative marketing channels such as Whatsapp and Telegram. Experts Silvia Almeida (Chief Media Officer, Clever Advertising), Leanne Muleba (Chief Operations Officer, Matching Visions), Eleonora Norbiato (Head of Acquisition, SKS365) and panel moderator Maria Tsnompilantze (Content Marketing Manager, SBC), will deliberate over how useful these alternative channels are, what metrics are particularly relevant for monetization purposes and whether the quality or quantity debate is over in the age of SEO.

The panel titled ‘The Uncharted Territory of Grey Hat SEO – Traffic, Cloaking, PBNs, Parasite SEO and More’ will delve into the nuances of SEO and PPC tactics, exploring the benefits of both Google-approved and grey hat strategies. Led by experts Vadim Aidlin (Chief Executive Officer, PushnotiAds) and Julia Logan (CEO & Founder, Zangoose Digital), discussions will encompass the use of PBNs, the impact of bot traffic, successful partnership SEO strategies and best practices regarding cloaking.

The first core day of the event will also feature a dedicated ‘SEO Trilogy’, hosted by Ivana Flynn alongside a host of industry experts as they tackle the continuously evolving SEO landscape.

The conference will also provide delegates with dedicated tracks covering key industry verticals such as casino, leadership, industry, and regulation and dedicated sessions for women in gaming. Moreover, attendees will be able to participate in innovative session formats such as hackathons, roundtables, and workshops.

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Affiliate Announcements

Catena Media readies for online sports betting launch in North Carolina

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Catena Media readies for online sports betting launch in North Carolina

 

Catena Media is well positioned to record a solid launch of online sports betting affiliation in North Carolina when the state opens for licensed sports wagering.

The group’s national brands, led by LegalSportsreport.com, are attracting North Carolina bettors with dedicated content, as is Catena Media’s state-focused NCSharp.com website. Alongside Catena Media’s own brands, the group has also published content in collaboration with media partners including Advance Local, owner of NJ.com and other news websites.

In the countdown to launch day, Catena Media held several top rankings for key organic search terms used by potential bettors to find relevant sports-betting-related content and offers.

Prior to the official go-live, the group has deals in place with five major operators offering sports betting platform access to North Carolinians. The customer agreements in North Carolina consist of a mix of revenue share and cost-per-acquisition (CPA) agreements.

North Carolina, with an adult population of 8.5 million, allows anyone aged 21 and over to place sports bets online.

Ryan Harper, Catena Media Vice President North America, said: “We have had a solid run-up to the launch date and are pleased with our efforts so far. We also expect the March Madness NCAA college basketball tournament later this month to be a big driver of new depositing customers in North Carolina.”

North Carolina expands Catena Media’s operational footprint in North America to 29 state and regional markets.

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