Salon earnings: revenue plummeting, losses growing
Revenue for the legacy web property falls over 20 percent as the pioneering website, and now entering its 20th year of publishing, now possibly entering its last
The latest earnings report for Salon, released after the bell on Friday, show the online news site suffering from seriously declining revenue, and growing losses.
Revenue fell over 20 percent in Salon’s third quarter of its fiscal year, down to $1.5 million. Through three quarters, the website recorded $3.74 million in revenue, versus $4.64 million one year ago. Net losses for Q3 were around $803,000 versus around $299,000 last year.
“We look to expand further our user base as we explore the potential of video and other emerging storytelling platforms,” said Cynthia Jeffers, the CEO of Salon Media Group. “Although 2014 was a challenging year in terms of monetizing our content, we are optimistic that more users and new platforms will help to improve our revenues in 2015.”
Salon is one of the pioneering websites of the Internet, founded by the San Francisco Examiner’s (then a Hearst property) arts and features editor David Talbot in late 1995. In 1999 Salon bought The Well (Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link), also a pioneering web venture. Salon also went public that year, right at the height of the Internet boom.
Unlike another media property of the time, The Industry Standard, Salon did not enjoy incredible highs, and online The Industry Standard, its death has not been fast in coming. But Salon has not been an innovative digital publisher, either. In fact, one might compare its digital media strategy as the same as an old time print publisher, unable to keep up with the times. Salon’s attitude towards digital is very much as old fashioned as some print publishers. For Salon, digital means the web, and only the web.
But Jeffers’ statement about “new platforms” may signal a changing in thinking. In its 20th year of web publishing, it is long overdue, if true, and probably far too late (unless its backers feel losing a few million each year is acceptable).