Friday, 24 October 2014

Ancestry in Canada

A CEO's comments in company reports are always spin. CEO Tim Sullivan's comments in the company latest quarterly financial report are no exception.

" is executing well on our mission to help everyone discover, preserve and share their family history," said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of "We're continuing to focus on our core customers - the enthusiasts who are passionate about their family history - by adding valuable new content and features to our site, while also aggressively pursuing growth priorities designed to expand our total addressable market. These priorities include our AncestryDNA product, where we've doubled our customer base during 2014, our mobile apps, which are generating increased engagement, and our efforts to broaden category awareness, including the creation of terrific family history TV programming. Overall our business is healthy and we believe we're positioning the company to capture its long-term growth opportunities."
The report shows while subscription revenues have increased the company lost 50,000 subscribers in the year since 30 September 2013. Subscriptions stand at 2,125,000 as of the end of September. The company is losing money, less so in the latest quarter.

In Canada the picture is mixed.
The good news is the company website is receiving more visitors. The Alexa rank of jumped from 27,110 a year ago to 17,986 today.
But Sullivan's claim to be focusing on core customers is ringing hollow in Canada.
1,984 Canadian databases is an increase of 1.2% over a year ago compared to a 3.4% increase for Ancestry overall. The pace is slowing. Of the more than 375 million new records added during the last quarter only 0.7% were Canadian.
This year for the first time was not an exhibitor at the Ontario Genealogical Society annual conference. Neither did they have a presence in the marketplace at the BIFHSGO conference.

Although Ancestry is the major presence in the genealogical database market in Canada neglect or complacency would provide an opportunity for other companies prepared to invest in and capitalise on the Canadian market.

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