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PaidContent CEO Nathan Richardson on the deal

Digital site sold for $30 mln with 1 million pageviews, but big newsletter subscriber base

Financial trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
July 11, 2008
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2e1

So, I guess you don't need a gazillion pageviews to be acquired for double-digit millions.

PaidContent.org, a digital media site launched in 2002, was just acquired by Guardian News & Media, the news media division of UK-based Guardian Media Group. The site, which in 2006 became one of four properties under the holding company ContentNext, was reportedly sold for $30 million, plus earnouts. ContentNext CEO Nathan Richardson, an old colleague from my Dow Jones days, wouldn't deny or confirm that valuaion. Nathan was brought over to ContentNext by Larry Kramer, founder of MarketWatch (which was sold to Dow Jones), and board member of ContentNext. 

But Nathan did share that ContentNext's properties, including paidContent.org, mocoNews.net, contentSutra.com, and paidContent:UK, generate 1 million pageviews a month. Now for anyone watching the business of these digital media sites, that traffic sounds pretty small. But the value of ContentNext's audience isn't in those pageviews, Nathan suggested.

“The value of the audience is a combination of all of them – pageviews, audience from newsletters and mobile application for Blackberries," said Nathan. "We [also] have events – half-day panels, and full-day conferences. We just had a conference in NY. We had an event in LA, those events track 250 to 500 executives."

ContentNext's newsletters reach about half a million members, said Nathan. 

Nathan also said that ContentNext was in the process of raising a round of capital from strategic investors. The Guardian "expressed interest," he said. And, the rest is history.

Nathan and Rafat Ali, who founded the site six years ago and bootstrapped it until he received "well below $1 million in financing" from Greycroft Partners, plan on staying with the Guardian, said Nathan.

Part of the his plans are to build out the properties and content to include digital games, digital sites targeting women, and digital business media.

ContentNext has 20 people on staff, with more than half in editorial. That number should grow.

"We're all committed to growing the business as quickly as we can," he said.

I don't have a video of my interview with Nathan, but here's an interview Andy Plesser did with Rafat recently.

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