Veritone says its advertising services business, used by podcasters and radio stations, and its ad revenue both had double-digit growth during the fourth quarter, and that helped push the artificial intelligence technology and solutions company’s revenue to new highs.
Total revenue was a record $16.8 million during the fourth quarter, a 35% increase compared to a year earlier. Revenue from licensing of its artificial intelligence aiWARE operating system jumped 53%. Ad revenues increased 50%, which it said came both the VeriAds Network and Veritone One – its ad agency that work with podcasters, radio and other digital advertisers. Those gains were offset slightly by a decrease in revenue at its content licensing and media services business, mostly due to the cancellation of sporting events.
“We had a very strong fourth quarter and finish to our exceptional year. In every area, we delivered results above the expectations,” said President Ryan Steelberg. “During a year in which many ad budgets were slashed, Veritone showed marked increases in spend from many of our clients, including DraftKings, Purple, HelloFresh, and others,” he said on a conference call with investors. “Throughout the year, as customers continue to recognize the differentiated results that we provide through aiWARE, we increased gross billings per active customer.”
CFO Mike Zemetra said they saw an average 24% year-over-year growth rate in advertising services billings during fourth quarter. And while new bookings were down, he said a large part of that had to do with the timing of a big deal they signed with iHeartMedia a year earlier.
Steelberg said Veritone has a wide variety of contracts ranging from ones that are “several million dollars” per month to others that are as little as a few hundred dollars. But he sees that as showing how they are “democratizing AI and machine learning and delivering it to a much more expansive market.”
Veritone set a record for full-year revenue as well, which totaled $57.7 million, a 16% year-over-year increase. It said that gain reflected a 30% increase in aiWARE SaaS Solutions last year and a 29% increase in advertising revenue.
The company is forecasting first quarter revenue will increase 45% compared to a year ago. And for the full year it is forecasting a 36% to 40% growth rate. And it said its aiWARE SaaS Solutions revenue is expected to grow 60% to 65%.
CEO Chad Steelberg said the pacing of billings from their existing advertising business “already exceeds our revenues from those groups in all of 2020” giving him confidence in the numbers.
Beyond advertising, Veritone also uses its artificial intelligence technology in other business sectors including energy, law enforcement, and the federal government.
For all its progress, Veritone remains a company still marching toward profitability. In the fourth quarter, the company’s net loss shrank to $12.3 million from $14.6 million a year earlier. For the full year 2020, its net loss totaled $47.9 million.
Vertione says it sold 3.5 million shares through the exercises of warrants and employee stock options during 2020, which allowed it to raise $66.3 million in additional cash. “The Q4 2020 capital raise gives us sufficient growth capital to execute on our near-term operating plans,” Zemetra told analysts.