Thirteen year-old financial news website Minyanville is getting out of the digital media business because it’s a “broken” model, the company’s CEO and founder Todd Harrison writes.
Here’s the core of his argument:
The secular online publishing dynamic has shifted quickly, and there’s desperation in the air. I would argue the digital media model is broken, with most of the players chasing clicks and treading water. Online financial-content companies have been struggling to reach profitability for years, and many are still hugging the flatline; simply put, it’s not a destination we aspire to. (Minyanville was marginally profitable last year.)
And the fundamentals are deteriorating. As syndication algorithms shift and content becomes even more commoditized, the volume of noise is rising with less being said, while CPMs (what advertisers pay publishers) trend lower as a function of automation.
That leaves subscriptions and licenses, which become tougher sells in an information-overloaded, in-your-face multichannel environment. That devolved into a fear-mongering, can-you-top-that headline chase, which is both unfortunate and inconsistent with our brand ethos.
Minyanville doesn’t appear to be going away, though. Harrison, a former Wall Street trader, makes it sound as if they’re willing to sell to a financial firm.
…I also believe that there is demand for our assets and abilities; entry into this space is a buy-or-build decision for the brokers. We’ll soon see if 13 years later, we’re in the right place at the right time — the market will determine fair value, and we’ll know by year-end.
As we pivot toward financial services, we’ll publish our real-time smart market commentary, work with clients to drive results, and satisfy our obligations in the marketplace. All the while, we’ll maintain an open dialogue with our community as we explore next steps with potential partners. I don’t know what the future holds, but we’re shifting our strategic approach and communicating in good faith.
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