Lad Bible Group posts loss but TikTok effect lifts indirect revenue

Solly Solomou, LadBible

Lad Bible Group (LBG) has noticed a market shift to making money from short form video, but isn’t yet making money from TikTok and Instagram reels it told the markets this morning.

The Manchester headquartered digital content and media business posted a pre-tax loss of £1.2m (HY22: £1.9m) a 39% improvement in comparison to the prior year. 

Indirect revenue via third party social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube) increased by 13% to £15.3m (HY22: £13.6m), driven by the market shift to short-form video seen in the second half of 2022. Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat are already monetised platforms, the company said, but described TikTok and Instagram as “at earlier stages of monetisation”.

Revenue from content marketing increased by 9% in HY23 to £11.4m (HY22: £10.6m), driven by branded clients such as Vodafone, McDonalds, Google and Disney and some direct display advertising on the Lad Bible owned websites.

However, LBG claims a significant increase in followers on TikTok, up 66% year-on-year, where they are the largest media publisher.

The £0.5m acquisition of LLIL in June 2023 is “on track to achieve payback within its first year,” the company said.

LBG’s US operations now represent 17% of revenue.

Staff costs over the period reduced by £0.3m to £15.8m (HY22: £16.1m) as a result of restructuring in 2022, offset by inflationary pay rises and investment in the international side of the business.

Founder and chief executive Solly Solomou, said: “We have made good financial and operational progress throughout the first half of 2023. The significant increase in content views demonstrates our effective ongoing engagement with the hard to reach 18 to 34 year-old demographic which remains a highly attractive proposition for our partner brands and platforms and will continue to drive the business forward.

“Our growth continued to outperform the wider digital advertising market as we operate within the fastest growing segments, giving us confidence as we look forward. In addition, our strategic progress in the half was encouraging. We continued to execute on our plans to broaden geographically, with good early progress in our recently established US operations, to acquire businesses, plugging in under-monetised brands onto our platform, and to broaden our capabilities, with our agile business model ensuring we can reach the widest possible audience.

“We have started H2 with positive momentum and I am excited by the opportunities that lie ahead.”

The results also reveal that the company agreed to settle a tax liability relating to what it describes as “a previously undisclosed benefit in kind” on behalf of Solly Solomou and his wife Jess Solomou, a former employee, totalling £0.2m. This balance remains accrued as a liability at the half year.

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