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Determining How Much Money CNN's Website Earns

Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:13 pm
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In a recent New York Times article about CNN's website, Nielsen ranked as the No. 1 current events and global news Web site last year. The monthly average for the website was 1.7 billion page views. The article also stated that has about 125 staff members.

In using these statistics to determine how much money their website generates it is worth noting that CNN claims it achieved profitability eight years ago.

There are various ways to estimate how much money their advertising could generate but for the purposes of this article we will ignore any sales of services derived from the sales or distribution of their news material. As noted in the New York Times article they are looking to offer a news distribution service similar to that of the Associated Press.

So how much money does 1,700,000,000 page views generate?

If we take an array of standard rates some websites can generate anywhere from $0.05 to $10 per thousand page views. The latter number generally assumes very targeted web traffic, not visitors who end up at a website because they type the domain name into Google or into the address bar.

So if we estimate somewhere between $0.05 and $1, 1.7 billion page views breakdown in the following ways.

1,700,000,000/1000 = 1,700,000

1,700,000 * $0.05 = $85,000/month


1,700,000 * 1 = $1,700,000/month

But it is probably very optimistic to assume a CPM of $1 given that the traffic is not targeted and video insertion ads may actually yield a lower CPM than more traditional web advertising. So if we take something around a $0.25 CPM then their monthly page view revenue does not likely exceed $425,000. And their 125 employees, by this estimate likely add $40,800 per employee per year.

source: NYTimes

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