Opinion: Why Reddit Deserves A “Platform” Valuation Premium Over BuzzFeed
Too many digital executives are chasing the flavor of the month. The new one is to try and become a “tasty” — a social-only publisher that publishes only across social media without a strong loyal following on its own platform.
Companies that focus on platform-building, like the New York Times and content-sharing platform Reddit, have locked-in user profiles and risk profiles that give me confidence they will have sustainable businesses in five-to-10 years, regardless of what happens with social media.
Reddit is in the process of raising $150 million at a valuation of $1.7 billion, Bloomberg reported recently.
If the platform closes at this valuation, it will be higher than media company BuzzFeed’s reported $1.5 billion valuation in late 2016.
BuzzFeed didn’t have a down round — that’s what happens in private financing when investors buy stock from a company at a lower valuation than the preceding round — but the valuation ended up being flat versus its prior funding round.
Reddit is an independent platform. BuzzFeed is increasingly a social-only publisher that is largely dependent on other platforms such as Facebook to survive.
Reddit has a strong argument with investors for being valued at a premium to BuzzFeed because it can’t be “Zynga’d” or “Panda’d”.
Some social only pubs mistakenly think they can diversify out the risks by publishing on different forms of quicksand vs owning real estate
— Jamarlin Martin (@JamarlinMartin) June 19, 2017
With the industry changing so fast, investors may have short-term memories or may miss how to price platform risk with digital media companies.