M+E Daily

Dolby CEO: Company Still Sees ‘Significant Opportunity’ in Atmos, Vision

Dolby saw continued strong Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision adoption in its first quarter (ended Dec. 31) and continues to see new opportunities with those technologies, according to company CEO and president Kevin Yeaman.

The company’s fiscal year is “off to a great start,” he told analysts on an earnings call Jan. 28. “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos are increasingly available across a broad range of new devices and services, and we are enabling more Dolby experiences in music and gaming, which is adding to our value proposition for broader adoption in areas such as mobile and PC,” he said.

During the Q&A, he told analysts: “We continue to see a significant opportunity to broaden both Dolby Vision and build… Atmos in the living room – whether that’s in TV or sound bars.” In addition, “we think that the work we’ve done to expand into new experiences, gaming, music and the beginnings of user-generated mobile-first content, really expands the opportunity in PC, mobile and beyond,” he said,

The company is also “excited about” the ability it now has “to address everyday virtual experiences and interactions” through its new Dolby.io. application programming interface (API)-based developer platform, he said, adding: “All of this adds to our confidence in the significant growth opportunities that we see ahead of us.”

The Numbers

His comments came as Dolby reported Q1 2021 revenue jumped to $389.9 million from $291.9 million, while profit grew to $135.2 million ($1.30 per diluted share) from $48.8 million (47 cents per diluted share).

The revenue included $373 million from licensing and $16.9 million from products and services, according to Lewis Chew, Dolby CFO. Of the licensing revenue, broadcast represented about 37% of it (up about 36% from last year), while mobile represented about 28% (up more than 200%), consumer electronics represented about 14% (up about 6%) and PC represented about 9% (up about 3%) thanks to “increased adoption of Dolby’s premium technologies like Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision,” he said.

More Details

The combined Dolby Atmos/Vision experience was touted at CES throughout the latest TV lines from Dolby partners including LG, Panasonic and Sony at the virtual version of that annual conference, Jan. 11-14, Yeaman said.

TCL and Skyworth also announced they’re adding support for the new Dolby Vision IQ technology that he said “optimises the picture on your TV to the surrounding light and the content being viewed.” Oppo also recently launched its first TVs and they include support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, he noted.

Dolby Atmos continues to be highlighted in sound bars too, including the latest products announced at CES from LG, JBL and TCL, he said.

“As we move beyond the living room, our partners are increasing the ways in which consumers can enjoy Dolby experience, including new adoption and headphones,” he told analysts. As examples, he noted that Apple is supporting Atmos in its new AirPods Max headphones, while Samsung recently announced its Galaxy Buds Pro support Atmos and include Dolby head tracking technology that
“enables consumers to have a realistic and immersive sound experience as they physically move in relation to where their content is being played.”

On the PC front, Dolby continues to “see growing momentum for broader adoption of Dolby technologies,” he said. For example, Lenovo announced it will ship the first PCs with Dolby Voice audio technology and also continues to support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos across its latest PC line-ups. Dell, meanwhile, continues to release new PCs supporting Vision.

Meanwhile, “with a broad range of OEM partners and devices that support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, it is becoming easier for consumers to discover content available in Dolby,” Yeaman said. For example, HBO Max became the latest major streaming service to support the combined Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos experience, starting with the release of Wonder Woman 1984, he noted.

The Dolby music experience also “continues to expand globally across artists, services and devices,” he said, noting “several new artists around the world released music in Dolby Atmos for the first time this quarter.” The Tidal subscription music and video streaming service, meanwhile, “continues to expand the number of devices within the home that enable” Dolby Atmos with their Tidal Connect feature, he said.

In video games, the new Xbox Series X and Series S consoles are “the first consoles to support the combined Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos experience for gaming content, with updates scheduled for later this year,” he pointed out. New game titles including Activision’s Call of Duty: Cold War and Ubisoft’s Immortals Fenyx Rising were released recently with support for Dolby Atmos, he said.

Lenovo and Asus also recently announced new gaming PCs that will support Dolby experiences, he noted.

Dolby.io Opportunities

Dolby also continues to “deepen our engagement within the developer community with Dolby.io,” he went on to say. Now that it has been on the market for about eight months, there are “a couple of opportunities that we are focused on” with it, he said, explaining: “First, there is an increasing demand for high-quality real time interactions across a broad range of apps and services, including social media, live performance and online education. This is the use case for our interactivity APIs with Dolby Voice. For example, Kiddom, a digital platform for online education, is expanding their usage to include our full suite of interactivity APIs, including Dolby Voice, to improve the quality of the communications experience between teachers and students.”

Dolby also sees an “opportunity to bring higher quality to recorded media content, starting with audio,” he said, noting video platforms are “embedding our media APIs to enable higher quality audio experiences.”

Although Dolby.io is “still in the early days, we are learning from our engagement with developers to continue to evolve our offering, increase usage and broaden the number of use cases that we can address,” he said.

Dolby Cinema Update

Although “the environment remains challenging across the industry” for Dolby Cinema technology implementation at movie theatres due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “in certain regions where consumers have been able to return to the cinema and there is strong local content, we have seen that consumers will seek out a premium experience,” he said.

As the sector “continues to evolve, we are confident that Dolby Cinema enables the best way to enjoy a movie and our partners remain deeply engaged,” he said, noting 12 new Dolby Cinema locations opened this quarter globally, including the company’s first site in Taiwan.