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Chegg CFO on Q4 earnings

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Andy Brown, Chegg's CFO, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the company's latest earnings report and his outlook for remote learning.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: All right, about 19 minutes to the closing bell. And we want to bring into the stream Andy Brown. He's the CFO from Chegg. They had a very good earnings report yesterday. And-- but they've got the best tag line, by the way, of just about any company out there-- a smarter way to student. But let's talk about their earnings because the stay-at-home school digital experience is a big grower for you. I mean, your revenue in the fourth quarter was an increase of 64% year over year. How do you top that?

ANDY BROWN: Well, it's been a phenomenal year, right? And we've been a high growth company for some period of time because of the things that we've certainly been talking about for many, many years. And that is the inevitability that education is going to be more online and more affordable. We saw additional headwinds-- tailwinds, I should say-- around that, as students across the globe went off campus.

So we think we're poised for continued growth. We believe that the trends that we have seen for many years and then accelerated recently will continue. And so, yeah, we think-- I said this last night on the earnings call. I think the future's brighter than the past. And the past has been pretty bright.

SEANA SMITH: Well, Andy, speaking of that earnings call and also when you mentioned future growth, I want to ask you about international strength because in that earnings report, you mentioned the fact that you're expecting over a million subscribers to come from outside the US for the first time this year in 2021. Where do you see the biggest opportunity internationally? And I guess, how do you plan to capitalize on that?

ANDY BROWN: Yeah, so that's a fair question. And truth be told, it's pretty broad-based right now. We entered last year, so 2020, thinking that there was maybe three countries, primarily the English-speaking countries, that would matter. But what it revealed to us is that we made more investments and that in fact, that it's more than just the English-speaking countries.

And so we've got, you know-- our CEO said on the call last night, we have more than 190 countries where we have students accessing our services. There's a good solid 15 that are really what I call big enough to matter. The fact that we can come out and say we'll have a million subscribers this year in 2021, whereas if you just looked at us four or five years ago, we were at about a million subscribers, at 1.5 million. So it's clearly a big opportunity for us.

And truth be told, as we start to develop that opportunity, we believe it's ultimately a bigger opportunity than the US because there's more students outside the US than there are inside the US. So we look at this as a multi-year growth opportunity for us over, obviously, the next several years.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Would-- and this is a hypothetical, but with the hurdles that would maybe slow down that growth. In the United States, each school district has the fight over the textbooks. It's the states of California and Texas, which them all for the rest of us. Does that kind of issue pose a problem for your growth?

ANDY BROWN: Well, you know, truth be told, it doesn't. And so where we have differentiate ourselves-- get my tongue out of this-- over pretty much any other education company is, in fact, we don't go through the institutions, we don't go through the districts, we go direct to the student. And another one of our cool taglines is, we talk about being student first. So everything we do is focused on the student, not the professor, not the institution, not the district.

And so you take a look at our 6.6 million subscribers that we had this past year, all of them were direct to the student. And so we're completely focused on that. And so we-- you know. And it's one of the advantages we have. And you've seen that with many internet companies, right? Whether it be folks like Netflix that go direct to their customer or Amazon versus through distribution points. And so we believe that's part of the power of our model, is that it is direct to the student. We've created a massive brand in the US, and increasingly globally.

SEANA SMITH: And we also have to ask you about your global student prize. I know it was one of the initiatives that you launched. It's a global charitable foundation. What's the goal of this foundation, and what are you hoping that it accomplishes here in the short term?

ANDY BROWN: Well, I mean, our goal is to make, just as a broader statement for our company, is to make education accessible and affordable. That is our ultimate goal. And if you think about how students consume everything and how we consume in a society, it's an on-demand society. And the question becomes, why can't education be more on demand? And that's the type of services we bring. And we want to make them certainly much more affordable than they are in the traditional method.

ADAM SHAPIRO: We appreciate your being here. Andy Brown, Chegg CFO, all the best to you in the future.