Google Bypasses Newswires for Earnings Release; Will Other Brands Follow?

Google announced their first quarter earnings yesterday. Here at PRNewser we particularly noticed this statement in the release:

Google intends to make future announcements regarding its financial performance exclusively through its investor relations website.

Ever since the SEC issued its Commission Guidance on the Use of Company Web Sites in August 2008, companies have been able to disclose financial results on their corporate websites alone, and are not required to post the information on wire services.

UPDATE: As a BusinessWire rep reminds us, companies can use their corporate websites to disclose information if a variety of website controls and criteria were satisfied. Full details here.

Google’s move to post financial performance solely through its website is perhaps the biggest move by a corporation since these new guidelines were enacted.

Writes Rich Smith at The Motley Fool:

Boeing (NYSE: BA), General Electric (NYSE: GE), Wal-Mart — even Google itself — have taken their messages to the blogosphere in recent years, communicating directly to investors via their websites. But last week, Google joined an exclusive club inhabited by only a handful of “pioneers” such as Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO) and BGC Partners (Nasdaq: BGCP), who’ve taken the SEC’s permission and really run with it.

The major wire services — Business Wire, PRNewswire and Marketwire — have been closely watching how the new disclosure requirements could affect their business. PRNewser reached out to representatives from Business Wire and Marketwire today. Here’s what they said.

Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media, Business Wire told PRNewser, “relatively little has changed in the way companies disseminate material news to the marketplace in the more than 18 months since the SEC’s Interpretive Guidance Release was issued,” while adding, “we do not anticipate any major changes in how companies will communicate with the marketplace in the future.”

While Business Wire insists that there has been little change, certainly technology is changing how companies communicate financial results and other material information.

“Any new technologies or capabilities or rulings inevitably will have implications on wire services and companies, and those will present both challenges and opportunities,” Paolina Milana, EVP, Marketing/Media/Editorial Operations at Marketwire told PRNewser today. “Some companies choose traditional methods, some choose new options, some choose a mixture of both. Marketwire has always evolved alongside the ever-changing needs of newsmakers and their audiences.”

Hershberg said the legal community continues to caution against bypassing the wires. “A key reason is concern that web-based disclosure may not protect issuers against insider-trading charges. Why chance it, legal counselors advise, given the small cost savings involved,” he said.

Publish date: April 22, 2010 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT