Tue, Nov 05, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Twitter faces skeptical investors: poll

STOCK UP FOR GRABS:Twitter has yet to generate a profit and, the San Francisco-based company is dependent upon advertisements as its primary source of income

AP, NEW YORK

Twitter faces skepticism from potential investors and the broader public ahead of its initial public offering this week, according to an Associated Press-CNBC poll released yesterday.

Some 36 percent of Americans say buying stock in the seven-year-old short messaging service would be a good investment, while 47 percent disagree. Last May, ahead of Facebook’s IPO, 51 percent of Americans said Facebook Inc would be a good investment. Only 31 percent did not agree.

Surprisingly, 52 percent of people aged 18 to 34 say investing in Twitter’s stock is not a good idea.

Twitter Inc will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday morning after setting a price for its IPO sometime tomorrow evening. The San Francisco-based company plans to raise as much as US$1.6 billion.

The transaction values Twitter at as much as US$12.5 billion. That is little more than one-eighth of Facebook’s roughly US$104 billion market value when it went public.

Twitter has not turned a profit since its launch, but its future depends on advertisements as a primary source of income. The company mainly sells three types of ads: promoted tweets, promoted accounts and promoted trends. A company like Starbucks, for instance, can pay Twitter to promote a single tweet or it can pay the company to ask users to follow its account.

More than half of Twitter users say they have not noticed advertising. Among the 42 percent of users who did notice, 31 percent say they have clicked on or followed one of the promoted items in question.

Among the poll’s other key findings:

One in 5 Americans say they have a Twitter account. One in 10 looks at Twitter feeds, but does not have an account of their own.

Nearly a quarter of Twitter account holders send tweets at least once a day, while 29 percent say they never do. More account holders say they read others’ tweets daily, 35 percent.

About 30 percent of Twitter users say they have used the service to register complaints about a product or service or when they are looking for information about services or products.

Twitter has billed itself as the place for public, real-time conversations, but only 16 percent of users say they turn to Twitter frequently for breaking news. That said, 44 percent of users do so at least some of the time.

Just 19 percent of respondents say they have a “favorable” view of Twitter, while 47 percent feel the same way about Facebook.

A sizable share of Americans are not familiar with Twitter or do not know what to make of it: 9 percent have never heard of it, and another 12 percent say they just do not know how they feel about it.

Just 35 percent of Americans say they think Twitter will be a successful company in five years. More, 49 percent, think Facebook will be successful in five years.

The Associated Press-CNBC telephone poll was conducted from Oct. 25 to Oct. 27 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications among 1,006 US adults. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

According to Twitter, 77 percent of its 232 million monthly visitors are outside of the US.

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