Since Tina Brown launched the site in 2008, The Daily Beast has bled a lot of money. However, parent company IAC, in a recent letter to shareholders, informed that the site could reach the break-even point in 2017.
How did the site make the move from A towards Black? Sponsored content. Stories like this one, for Hennessy, and this one, for Starz, are part of a broad initiative within IAC Publishing that relies on mining data from sister sites like About.com to help predict the types of sponsored content that will resonate with Daily Beast readers.
Per a recent piece by Ad Exchanger senior editor Sarah Sluis, sponsored content currently accounts for 90% of The Daily Beast’s revenue:
The sponsored content isn’t written in-house but by one of The Daily Beast’s 3,500 freelancers. While some publishers built teams of in-house talent, Daily Beast president and publisher Mike Dyer said this outsourced strategy allows The Daily Beast to call on “the most influential experts” for a particular piece.
Daily Beast sponsored content is clearly labeled as such, at both the top and bottom. When Dyer guested this summer on Digiday’s podcast, he stressed to Brian Morrissey that The Daily Beast from its end engages in zero paid promotion for its sponsored content. The traffic is organic. Dyer also explained that a team of IAC “branded editors” sit atop the different areas of content-marketing expertise and manage the contributions of that aforementioned worldwide network of freelancers.