With his shirtsleeves rolled up like a street brawler and the energy of a nuclear reactor, Wall Street stock analyst Jim Cramer has long been a one-of-a-kind TV personality. Since kicking off his American investment advice show Mad Money in 2005, Cramer has bellowed fiery opinions from CNBC’s television studios about what stocks to buy, sell, or hold. And he’s done so with the theatrics of a pro wrestler.
Cramer understood that a media entity as distinctive and fresh as his would carve inroads into modern publishing avenues. After all, he had already co-founded TheStreet, an online stock research company, in 1996. Through its free, award-winning website, thestreet.com, TheStreet provided early digital competition to traditional financial-news outlets like The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Reuters, breathing down their necks as it announced that Wall Street financial coverage needed a makeover.
Cramer shepherded TheStreet through a successful initial public offering in 1999, arranging the sale precisely as the dot-com bubble reached a fever pitch. The timing was exquisite. TheStreet’s high point in market capitalization, $1.7 billion, came shortly after the IPO. Then, as every investor recalls, the dot-com bubble burst and crushed many a stock price. In 2019, The Arena Group scooped up TheStreet for a reasonable $16.5 million.
The leadership team at The Arena Group, a modern media conglomerate, comprises pioneers in the media and technology industries. After buying TheStreet, the team got to work to make some adjustments.
Sports Illustrated CEO Ross Levinsohn Exercises the ‘Playbook’ on TheStreet
Since taking control of TheStreet in mid-2019 The Arena Group put all hands on deck to reinvigorate and reinvest to transform the digital assets of TheStreet and put it on a path to once again be a profitable industry leader.
“We leaned in to providing valuable information for investors and news that matters,” Levinsohn says. “We also broadened the aperture on the lens of how we were covering not only Wall Street but businesses and companies that are public, going public, or creating news in the business and financial world.”
Then, in October 2021, Jim Cramer left TheStreet for a broad CNBC content deal. Naturally, his absence called for a paradigm shift.
“There’s only one Jim Cramer in the world, and he’s an enterprise unto himself,” Ross Levinsohn says. “No one person can replace him, so we took this as an opportunity to further transform what TheStreet stands for. We brought in new editorial leadership. Invested in our subscription products beyond what Jim had been doing, and launched a video studio on the floor of the NYSE to be in the center of the action. The results have been phenomenal.”
Levinsohn and his team worked to position TheStreet solidly as The Arena Group’s foundational finance vertical. Levinsohn brought on a new leadership team and revamped the content approach to develop a fresh voice at TheStreet while retaining subscribers. The team pivoted their resources, energy, and strategy on using technology to propel TheStreet forward.
“We invested in technology platforms, the strategic growth of our team, and designed a playbook for success that today drives phenomenal user and financial growth,” Levinsohn says. “We transform companies. We apply our playbook systematically. The results have been spectacular: unprecedented audience growth, dramatic revenue increases, margin expansion through focused cost management, synergies, and operational excellence.”
TheStreet Bounces Back After Jim Cramer’s Departure
TheStreet Bounces Back After Jim Cramer’s DepartureAfter the playbook was fully applied to TheStreet, it bounced back from the slight audience dip it felt after Cramer’s departure.
“While we did lose some subscribers, we were able to retain 86% of subscriptions,” Levinsohn says. “More importantly, we have rebuilt the funnel by applying The Arena Group playbook to TheStreet. At the time of Jim Cramer’s departure in October, the site had 5 million monthly unique users, according to ComScore. Just four short months later, in February, TheStreet had over 16 million unique viewers — more than triple our viewers when Jim was in his last month with us.”
Levinsohn noted that the resulting users’ page views and impressions grew the advertising business dramatically. By the first quarter of 2022, TheStreet had nearly quadrupled its monthly unique users, and The Arena Group reported a 44% revenue increase.
Following the numbers report, The Arena Group and Sports Illustrated CEO Ross Levinsohn highlighted the success and hard work of the team. “In the first quarter, we drove substantial revenue growth and more than tripled our gross profit, all while maintaining a 1% increase in the cost of revenue, which enabled us to meaningfully narrow net losses.”
Under Levinsohn’s leadership, The Arena Group crafted a master strategy of organizing properties into three verticals — sports, lifestyle, and financial — and jettisoning tangential properties.
“In this vertical partnership model, we invest in our anchor brands, creating a halo for the entire enterprise. We then share revenue with our partners who benefit from the breath and depth of our enterprise and can leverage our infrastructure, technology and sales teams,” Levinsohn says. “This keeps our content humming while showcasing some of the industry’s most dynamic and award-winning journalism from top talents.”
Ross Levinsohn Put TheStreet in the Fast Lane
Today, TheStreet delivers reliable and actionable investing ideas, news and analysis, financial data, and analytical tools for a growing audience of investors. It also connects advertisers with a passionate, affluent audience.
As a leading digital financial media company, TheStreet delivers various services to its readers and advertisers. There are subscription-based and advertising-supported content and tools through different online platforms, including websites, mobile devices, email services, widgets, blogs, podcasts, and online video channels.
“Without the legacy that Jim Cramer left and the great brand, TheStreet, none of this would be possible,” Levinsohn says. The new editorial leadership at TheStreet has transformed what you see there, which is critical.”
TheStreet also produces seven free email newsletters and 10 proprietary premium services: Action Alerts Plus, Real Money, Real Money Pro, Stocks Under $10, Top Stocks, Breakout Stocks, Daily Swing Trade, TheStreet Ratings, Options Profits, and Chairman’s Club. TheStreetTV, another media outlet, produces nearly 100 financial news and commentary videos weekly across 13 channels. These include TV shows from Cramer on Demand to Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street. The app, TheStreet Mobile, provides fans with the most in-demand content found at TheStreet, including real-time financial news.
TheStreet is a significant player in the financial media landscape. The Arena Group continues to enhance and surround it with strategic partners who add breadth and depth to the content through their specific expertise and audience.
“The future is bright for TheStreet,” Levinsohn says. “We have opened the creative lens at TheStreet and are seeing the results, which are fantastic.”