Arianna Huffington wrote today about her one-year baby, Huffington Post Live. The post was fat-laden with vanity metrics which she used to paint a picture of success and talk about her excitement about the future, all which is to be expected.
Some of the numbers she shared:
- 13 million visitors to Huffpo Live per month
- 445 million video views in the last year
- Average of 22 minutes per visit
On the surface the numbers look good. Nearly half a billion video views and 13 million visitors per month are numbers many new media companies would drool over.
But let’s put it into context:
Quantcast has Huffpo at about 93 million monthly visitors, which puts Live at about 14% of the total of their main site. In terms of video views, 445 million seems like a lot, but compare it to someone like YouTube which receives 1 billion visitors and 6 billion hours (which is 360 billion minutes a month), it’s a good number but just a grain of sand on the video view beach.
Ok, you say, but it’s unfair to compare anyone to YouTube, and what really matters is money.
Well let’s spitball some more numbers. If we assume that HuffPo gets a standard video CPM of $30, that would translate to about $13.5 million in additional revenue for the HuffPo Live business over the past 12 months. Say my CPM view is conservative – maybe it’s $45 – that means about $20 million in business.
If those estimates are at even close, $13 to $20 million is a decent additive revenue number assuming the Huffington Post is a $100 million division at this point (HuffPo revenue numbers are not available that I could find, but I would assume they’re likely between an $50 and $100 million division). However, $15 to $20 million is a fairly small number overall for AOL, a $2+ billion company.
Still given the parent company’s recent acquisition of Adap.tv, it’s clear AOL sees online video as the future and it likely believes it can increase both viewership and likely the amount of money it gets from video (both live and on-demand). I’m also sure they see HuffPo as a content hub that would serve as a potential foundation for any entry points into smart TV and OTT to TV channel efforts.