Annual General Meeting Statement
Forbidden Technologies plc (AIM: FBT), the developer and seller of cloud video platform technology using its patented Blackbird technology is holding its Annual General Meeting today at 14:00pm at the Company’s offices, Tuition House, 27-37 St George’s Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 4EU.
Ahead of the formal business of the meeting, David Main, Chairman of Forbidden, will make the following statement:
“Before proceeding with the formal part of the AGM, I should like to take the opportunity of commenting on the Company’s progress since we last met. We published our audited results for the year ended 31 December 2017 on 15(th) March 2018.
Whilst 2017 was a disappointing year in respect of sales growth there were some positives that we took into 2018. These included:
— The Company has brought in a strong commercially focused and externally appointed CEO, Ian McDonough, who is looking forward to speaking with you after the formal business of the AGM is concluded.
— We also hired a strong experienced sales director who has been in place since July.
— The Company reset its strategy to be exclusively B2B focused, and more specifically to be driving recurring infrastructure sales versus the traditional project-based revenue generated from the broadcast post market. By the end of the year, the percentage of total invoiced sales from recurring infrastructure sales in 2017 grew to 48% versus 28% in 2016.
— North America is very much a focus, particularly in the sports market, with revenues increasing year on year by 18%.
— We broke into the eSports market with Gfinity, a leading eSports content producer.
Since joining, Ian has further strengthened the team against a much more intensively targeted sales strategy focused against our real market strengths in live and remote applications. The team now includes proven sales resources based in the US and Europe, and an experienced senior marketing and product management team.
Given that the Company incurred a loss after tax in the year ended 31 December 2017 of GBP2,336,000, let me touch on the matter of going concern. In terms of Invoiced Sales we have had a good first quarter showing a high double-digit growth vs. last year. Our internal forecasts are based on the forecast of three types of sales – recurring infrastructure sales from existing customers, repeat and new projects from existing customers and new sales from new customers. There are varying risks of achievement of these forecasts by sales type. The Directors believe that the combination of these forecasts along with the 1(st) quarter 2018 performance, sales pipeline growth, and potential cost management actions, demonstrate the business is operationally capable of meeting its obligations as they fall due and are confident they have plans in place to ensure the continuity of the business for at least twelve months.
The Board is very aware that the significant value of our technology platform far exceeds the current revenue profile in the business. With the repositioning complete, the Board is fully committed to exploring all opportunities to optimise the value of the business for shareholders. This includes growing sales as currently described above and exploring technology licensing and strategic partnership opportunities going forward.
The Board is confident that the business is now well placed, and has the right leadership and team, to make real progress in realising full value from our Blackbird technology and platform”.
In addition, Ian McDonough Chief Executive Officer of Forbidden, will make the following statement:
“Our new strategic direction is to position our business under the Blackbird(R) brand and sell our solutions as a core part of the Company’s video capabilities. We believe Blackbird is the only codec in the world that has been specifically designed for editing (or as we prefer to say manipulating) video in the cloud. As a consequence, it has some very significant points of difference from the competition. It is now our strategy to focus on these real advantages in key verticals.
What does this mean?
It means that Blackbird provides a frictionless, fluid, highly-responsive workstation-like experience in the cloud. No competitor provides this experience as they are using codecs such as H.264/5. H.264 is a streaming codec designed for playback and not high-performance cloud editing. In a typical cloud editing context it can be difficult to manipulate, leading to poor navigation and an unresponsive experience. In contrast Blackbird will edit frame accurately at 60 frames per second as a web-based tool. That is how we position Blackbird. The only true cloud-native solution in a world that is rushing towards the cloud. That’s a powerful place to be.
The Blackbird master brand was officially launched at the National Association of Broadcasters (“NAB”) conference in Las Vegas earlier this month.
We have now elevated Blackbird to become our master brand. The platform known as Forscene is now a part of Blackbird. Our core products under Blackbird are now clearly defined and include Blackbird Forte and Blackbird Ascent.
Blackbird Forte is our premium fully specified story creation and publishing solution. Our roadmap for Forte includes opening up the APIs to interface with enriched graphics packages, time-accurate metadata exchange and Artificial Intelligence.
We have introduced Blackbird Ascent, a simple interface clipper for ‘professionals who are not editors’. These are for people such as journalists, reporters, researchers, marketers and the social media team, who need to clip and publish without professional editing experience.
Blackbird Edge is our other main product, which allows customers to create the proxy on a Linux box, Windows or indeed a Mac. This significantly overcomes complexities of ingesting content into the cloud. Blackbird Edge is a software defined conduit to the power of the cloud whereby content can be tracked while remaining in its existing location. This layer is topped with a selection of lightweight, web-based user applications such as Blackbird Ascent or the more comprehensive toolsets of Blackbird Forte to enable virtual use of the same (original) content without the need to scale up infrastructure. Ultimately the compelling idea that in our world of large video files you move the ‘computing to the content’ rather than the ‘content to the computing’ is a key principle of Blackbird Edge. Customers looking to increase monetisation of video content for online and social media can have these capabilities without the complex rollouts, making Blackbird Edge highly attractive.
The ongoing roll-out of the Blackbird 9 codec affords users of the proxy a high enough quality viewing experience to publish directly to social media, thus enhancing the efficiency of the media supply chain.
Early adopter customers have already understood the power, speed and quality of Blackbird and we invariably now see it being adopted as an integral component of their technology infrastructure. For us this is a SaaS model with recurring revenues, which is our business model.
Both Deltatre and IMG are great examples of our capability to be part of a large and international media supply chain. Both of these customers have recently renewed their contracts with us and we continue to increase the volume and variety of work we are undertaking with them. Another example of this is in the burgeoning genre of eSports where we are a partner to Gfinity plc and more recently ESP Gaming in Las Vegas.
As I mentioned in my Shareholder Update on 13 December we had a record number of Proof of Concepts (“POCs”) in play. I’m happy to report a number of these have converted successfully including the fixed rig show and the Japanese telco. The North American broadcaster and several other POCs are also still live. As a policy though we have moved away from the POC strategy, focusing instead on negotiating straight to contract.
The team have just returned from a very busy NAB, where we had a much bigger presence than in 2017 and I can report we have some very interesting infrastructure sales opportunities to follow up in the coming months. These opportunities are looking to build relationships with technology providers to partner with them and provide a non-disruptive path for a flexible and scalable future.
The whole Blackbird team has left NAB with an even greater enthusiasm for the innovative Blackbird platform and the benefits it can bring to more efficiently create and monetise content”.
Forbidden Technologies plc
Ian McDonough, CEO
Jonathan Lees, Finance Director
Tel: +44 (0)20 8879 7245
Allenby Capital Limited (Nominated Adviser and Broker)
Tel: +44 (0)20 3328 5656
About Forbidden Technologies plc
Forbidden Technologies plc (AIM: FBT, www.forbidden.co.uk) floated in February 2000.
Forbidden develops, markets and licenses a powerful cloud video platform using our patented Blackbird technology. The technology underpins multiple applications which are used by rights holders, broadcasters, sports and news video specialists, post-production houses, other mass market digital video channels and corporations.
The Blackbird technology allows full visibility on multi-location digital content, improves time to market for live content such as video clips and highlights for social media distribution, and results in much more effective monetisation.
Blackbird(R) is a registered trademark of Forbidden Technologies plc.