How Much Do You Bring to the Table, Content Human?


The German publisher Axel Springer DE is purchasing 88 percent of Henry Blodget’s extremely popular travel blog, Business Insider, for 343 million dollars in cash; its stake is valued at 390 million dollars. (The total value of the company is pegged at 442 million dollars — Axel Springer already owned nine percent, and Jeff Bezos is not giving up his shares.) The number that Axel Springer and Business Insider want you to consider is 76 million unique visitors per month, but the future is in distribution, not unique visitors anymore, so let’s talk money!

According to Peter Kafka, that number is nine times this year’s projected revenues, which appear to amount to just over 43 million dollars. (It is six times next year’s projected revenues, so BI is expecting to make 65 million dollars next year, or a roughly 50 percent jump.) BI employs 325 people (half journalists, it would like me to tell you!), meaning it currently brings in roughly $132,300 in revenue per employee.

To compare, BuzzFeed is valued at a 1.5 billion dollars, and has projected revenues of 250 million dollars this year. With more than a thousand employees — but let’s say 1200 because they’ve probably hired twenty people in the time since I started writing this? — that’s revenue of over $208,333 per employee. (Already up $60,000 per employee since January.) Gawker has around 260 employees. Last year’s revenues were 45 million dollars; let’s say it’ll make 55 million dollars this year, based mostly on projected growth in Gawker’s affiliate revenue. That’s a little over $211,538 per employee. Vox Media, which is now valued at just over a billion dollars*, had projected revenues this year of roughly 126 million dollars, according to the Wall Street Journal (albeit in January, when Vox was valued at less than half of what it is now); according to the best available public numbers, it has somewhere north of 400 employees, but let’s say 500 for the hell of it? That would amount to around $252,000 in revenue per employee.

And then there’s Vice, which is projected to make 915 million dollars in revenue this year; as of March, it had 1500 employees. Let’s be crazy and say it has 2000 right now — even at that number, it would be generating more than $457,500 per employee. (In case you were wondering why Vice is worth all those billions and the other internet companies that it is often compared to aren’t!)

But, for what it’s worth: The New York Times Company, which has only been profitable through cost cutting in recent years, generates somewhere between $440,000 and $450,000 per employee; Time Inc., which has been slash and burning through jobs for years now, brings in $417,000 employee.

(P.S. A lot of these numbers are closely guarded or extremely fuzzy, so if you have insider knowledge and would like to correct any of them with more current information, please let us know. 😉

* This post previously used Vox’s pre-money valuation of 850 million dollars. An apparently important thing to note when throwing around investment-pegged valuations is whether it’s pre-money or post-money. 🙂