Meta surpasses Q4 2023 expectations, Reality Labs clocks major operating loss

The “year of efficiency” has finally come to an end for social media company Meta, which recently reported its financial results for the quarter and full year ended December 31, 2023. The reports revealed that its earnings per share (EPS) surpassed expectations at $5.33, exceeding the anticipated $4.96. Alongside this, the company’s revenue hit a substantial $40.1 billion for the quarter ended December 2023, marking a formidable 25% growth from the comparable period in the preceding year. For the full year ended December 2023, its revenue amounted to $134.9 billion.

At the core of Meta’s revenue stream, advertising demonstrated substantial growth, reaching $38.7 billion in Q4 2023. This represents a noteworthy surge of 23.8% compared to the corresponding quarter in 2022. Daily active users (DAUs) for Facebook surged to an impressive 2.11 billion, surpassing the projected 2.08 billion. Monthly active users (MAUs) For Facebook echoed this growth as well, totaling 3.07 billion, outstripping the anticipated 3.06 billion. In addition to this, the social media company announced its inaugural dividend payment of 50 cents per share, scheduled for distribution on March 26. Simultaneously, the company unveiled a substantial $50 billion share buyback program.

Meta’s outlook for Q1 2024 remains optimistic, with projected revenue ranging from $34.5 billion to $37 billion, surpassing analysts’ predictions. The company intends to continue to make substantial investments in artificial intelligence (AI), with a revised capital expenditure range of $30-37 billion. Not that this is very surprising, given that AI has been the name of the game for the tech sector over the past year. Generative AI, in fact, seemed to be the keyword during 2023, and the likes of Microsoft, Google, Apple, Meta, and others have not held back in rapidly integrating it across their products and services (even rolling out new ones).

An optimistic view, no doubt, given that Meta’s Reality Labs (which are responsible for furthering Meta’s foray into AR, VR, and the metaverse) continues to bleed heavily. According to Meta’s financials, the Reality Labs unit reported sales exceeding $1 billion (an increase of 47% and driven by the Quest 3). Despite this, it simultaneously grappled with operating losses amounting to $4.65 billion, while its expenses amounted to $5.7 billion. Overall, the company’s metaverse division has now lost more than $42 billion since the end of 2020, and given that Apple’s Vision Pro rolls out today, things do not seem to be easy for Meta anytime soon.

Coming to its other financials, Meta’s net income witnessed an overall triple-fold increase, reaching an impressive $14 billion for Q4 2023, while the same for the full year ended December 2023 amounted to $39 billion. Its income from operations for the winter quarter and the full year amounted to $16.3 billion and $46.7 billion respectively. Additionally, Meta’s Family of Apps – which includes the likes of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger – reported a total of $133 billion for the entire year, while ad revenue for the same period rose by 16% YoY to $131.9 billion. “We had a good quarter as our community and business continue to grow,” said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta. “We’ve made a lot of progress on our vision for advancing AI and the metaverse.”


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