henry copeland: People forget "raising $12 million" means Business Insider plans to lose $12 million more: pllqt.it/NQEIQB
In 2013, BI made more than $19 million, most of it selling this traffic to advertisers. It said it was profitable in the fourth quarter (usually a good quarter) and that it won't be profitable in 2014.It has to produce lots of content — quantity tending to trump quality — to realize these traffic goals. But Business Insider is seeking to be not just a content mill (a site that uses bulk amounts of low-level content to attract mass traffic) but also a significant new brand, which adds costs. It has hired, if not quite a seasoned staff, young journalists with at least a bit of experience: about 70 of them now, costing upwards of $15 million a year. Overhead and other traffic-acquisition costs push expenditures well past $19 million. In other words, it costs more to get traffic than what you can sell it for.In this, Business Insider finds itself in the CPM vice. The cost per thousand page views (CPMs) — a measurement beginning to be as common in conversations about digital media as movie grosses were in the 1980s — slides ever downward. This is a result of expanded inventory, general unhappiness with the results of digital advertising, lower-valued mobile space and the increasing prevalence of what's called programmatic buying (wherein a targeted audience can be assembled more cheaply outside of brands). In addition, as a site grows and its inventory expands, its CPMs decline. MailOnline, one of the most trafficked news sites, averages 160 million unique visitors a month — more than six times what Business Insider receives — but produces only $60 million in revenue, just three times more than Business Insider.
- www.usatoday.com