The recent sale of The Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million heralds yet another milestone in the shift of news media from traditional to digital channels. Keeping in mind that The Huffington Post is primarily a news blog site, comparing The Huffington Post’s valuation to the market cap of other media companies tells a very interesting story.
This is by no means an in-depth analysis, but a quick comparison shows that The Huffington Post (a single website) is worth 20% (or ?) of the New York Times Company — a conglomerate which includes over 10 major news brands (print and online), About.com, 14 daily newspapers, New England Sports Network, and more, with a current market cap of $1.54 billion — and is worth 88% of McClathy — another media conglomerate of 30 major daily newspapers and 43 non-dailies in 29 markets, and ownership of 14.4% of Careerbuilder.com, 33.3% of Homefinder.com and 25.6% of Classified Ventures, with a current market cap of $358 million. In addition, across the board these companies are major and established brands! Huffpost is 6 years old (started in 2005) and, again, one website.
This comes on the heels of Demand Media’s IPO. Today the company has a market cap of $1.54 billion. making it the same size as the New York Times Company and 70% the size of AOL (with a market cap of $2.19 billion).
The following chart and table illustrate the relative size of these traditional and new media companies, plus a short profile overview (pulled from Yahoo!Finance). As the table shows, traditional media has a lot of rethinking to do. Or, is traditional really dead?