September 24, 2011

The New Financial Media Moguls: Blodget, Lindzon

September 24, 2011

The New Financial Media Moguls: Blodget, Lindzon

Finance superblog BusinessInsider (BI) and financial media juggernaut Reuters butted heads again last week after a $7m capital raise by BI. In a piece on Felix Salmon’s blog, Reuter’s again accused Henry Blodget’s BI of being mere aggregator instead of legit financial news outfit.

Salmon played this card 18 months ago too. What I wrote back then stands the test of time, and remains a clear summary of what BI is doing. Check it out:

[3/28/10] There’s been an interesting debate about blogging economics the last couple of days between financial blogging heavyweights Felix Salmon, writer for Reuters and Henry Blodget, editor in chief of BusinessInsider. There are many layers to the debate, but each man’s core position is as follows: Salmon believes that quality of content and reporting are how to build a loyal audience and sustainable profitability. Blodget believes hard journalism is important but that a mass audience is more important for early profit—so the one-year-old BusinessInsider is not about publishing the best quality content all the time. It’s about grabbing a massive audience by being first (and perhaps most sensationalized) with all content.

If we reduce this battle even further, Salmon is about content and Blodget is about the platform. It’s not that Blodget fully disagrees with Salmon, it’s just that his site is building right now. Then BusinessInsider will scale later with investigative reporting if they choose—and if it’s profitable.

I like watching this debate between two of the best in the financial media game at their chosen positions: Salmon on content, and Blodget on platform. But in the end it’s all about the platform, because if you control the platform you can do whatever you want with content once you have the scale you want. Just look at the path of Huffingtonpost if there’s any doubt about that.

And as I’ve already predicted, Blodget is the next media mogul precisely because of his willingness to scale with high volume content, then add quality later.

As for Salmon, it’s easy to predict that he will remain a top player in financial media, precisely because he is so staunch in his quality-of-content position. There’s never going to be a time when this kind of integrity isn’t in demand, whether by Reuters or any other platform Salmon chooses to join … even if it’s Blodget’s.

To this I would only add that Blodget is not alone in being the next media mogul. There’s also Howard Lindzon, founder of StockTwits.

Like BI, StockTwits is an emerging financial media powerhouse.

It’s a Twitter for stocks, where you can follow people and securities. They’ve also got 48 market commentary and analysis blogs—most written by practicing market pros. Plus all StockTwits ‘ideas’ (their version of tweets) and blog posts are syndicated to Yahoo Finance, CNNMoney and Investopedia.

When it comes to the core Twitter-like platform, I’m still learning because it’s quite a bit more sophisticated than Twitter. Right now, my favorite feature is when you hover over a stock or index symbol in your stream, you get a chart. It rules.

StockTwits has rapidly become the best place to follow markets for a reason: it’s super cool. Cooler than BI in my view, but for the same reason as in my piece above: they’re all about the platform. And like BI, they’re just getting warmed up. Which is why Lindzon is also on my financial media mogul-in-the-making list.

Cheers to Lindzon and Blodget for changing the game. It’s fun to watch.

Excerpt above from here:
BusinessInsider’s Blodget vs. Reuters’ Salmon: Advantage Blodget
BusinessInsider Raises $7m