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Can we use Social Media to predict the market value of Newspapers?

August 15, 2013

I don’t know about you but I was very surprised by the low valuation of the Washington Post acquisition ($250M) by Jeff Bezos.

So I looked at whether we could infer the value of a newspaper, based on how much of their content is used/distributed in the Social Web. It is only an indicator of the “online” impact of the newspaper but it’s still an interesting one.

Using eCairn’s database of 400,000 influencers (from North America, Latin America and Europe, plus English bloggers from the rest of the world) and analyzing their blogs’ history over the past 6 months, here is what we get:

Newspaper influence in blogosphere

For this graph, we picked some major newspapers along with regional ones that were recently acquired.

The graph above shows how many pieces of content (links) from these different newspapers have been used (linked to) by our 400K influencers in their blogs. As you can see, the New York Times and the Huffington Post are the most frequently referenced newspapers in the “western social web”.

If we now look at recent transactions, here are data points regarding recent newspapers acquisitions:

valuation
(references:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-07/aol-to-buy-huffington-post-for-315-million-founder-keeps-role.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2013/08/05/jeff-bezos-buys-washington-post-for-250-million-less-than-1-of-his-net-worth/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/business/media/new-york-times-company-sells-boston-globe.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/02/sale-of-philadelphia-papers-is-completed/

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-12-22/business/ct-biz-1222-sun-times-20111222_1_sun-times-media-holdings-james-tyree-tyree-group

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/corporate/tampa-tribune-sold-to-revolution-capital-group/1255396 )

So, the more links you get, the greater the value! The Huff Post being “online only”, its ratio (value/link) is smaller.

Going one level deeper, we can analyze “where” (i.e from what tribe/vertical) these newspapers get their links from. Here is the picture for 4 of the major newspapers:

pic1

pic2

I am too lazy to do the math, but factoring in the cost per click/ value of advertising for the different segments, we can probably refine the model and get a more accurate predictor.

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