Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Which Media Mogul Would You Rather Be Right Now: Arianna Huffington or Jim Cramer?

Doug McIntyre at 24/7 Wall Street makes a provocative point: With a new $25 million round of funding secured, Arianna Huffington’s Huffington Post is now worth about as much as Jim Cramer’s

Huffpo’s newest round values the company at about $100 million, which means its investors think it will be worth much more one day. That’s the same value, more or less, that investors place on TheStreet (TSCM), even though it generated some $65 million last year and has about $80 million in cash on hand. McIntyre:

Huffington has several important advantages over TheStreet. For starters, it does not rely on one person for most of its traffic. If Jim Cramer left TSCM, the company would be in real trouble.

Second, Huffington has diversified beyond it political news base. Over the next year or so, it will become clear whether that was a good idea or not. Adding “style” and “entertainment” sections puts it into competition with a lot of other online success stories.

Third, Huffington aggregates a lot of content from around the web. The cost of doing this is remarkably low. The company pays little if anything to most of its bloggers. TheStreet has a relatively large staff and produces most of its own content.

The final difference between the two companies is probably the most telling. At its current rate of growth, which could be hurt by the end of the 2008 election process, Huffington may double in size again over the next year or so, if its efforts to diversify its content works.

It would be hard to find analysts who believe TSCM is going to expand its audience or revenue at a rate of 100%.”

I can think of some counter-arguments to this, but they’re half-hearted: TSCM’s affluent readers should be worth more to advertisers than Huffpo’s; TSCM still has a revenue stream from subscribers to buffet it from ad market turmoil; Huffpo’s aggregation model isn’t unique and could be replicated by anyone who wants to hire some devilishly clever Web editors, etc.

But better to acknowledge that the HuffPo crew have built something very big, very fast. And that anyone who does that gets rewarded for it, even in an econalypse.