There's no question that this week Wall Street is in the midst of nearly unprecedented chaos. It happens that this very week the editors of Slate and the Washington Post Company (WPO) are launching a new financial news site, "The Big Money."
A few months ago the Post Company founded a new unit, the Slate Group, to apply Slate's successful model of the past 12 years on new topics. The plan is to launch one or two new sites a year, the first of which was "The Root" targeting African American readers.
There's certainly interest in The Big Money's headlines-- "All eyes on AIG," and "Too Big to Succeed: Why is Bank of America building a financial megastore." But there's also tons of competition. Obviously there's CNBC, which is the authority on financial news, and then there's also the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times business section, CNNMoney.com, Forbes, Fortune, Portfolio Magazine, MarketWatch.com, The Street.com. The list goes on and on.
"The Big Money" has attracted two big advertisers; American Express (NYSE:AXP), which is underwriting the site through the end of the year, and Infiniti. But when the company switches to a traditional online ad model next year, we'll have to see how it's readership holds up against the plentiful competition.
It seems the launch of 'The Big Money' into the crowded business news space says less about the financial markets than it does about the strategy of an old publishing company, the Post, trying to innovate. While trimming back overhead at its flagship newspaper and at Newsweek, the Slate Group is profitable, attracting six million unique monthly users. The newspaper company no longer wants to be a newspaper company, and it's hoping this new site and others like it will take them closer to the digital model.